American Pride – it Makes a Difference

Made in the USA is a powerful phrase.

But why?  Why does such a simple phrase consisting of 4 simple words evoke a passionate response from the approximately 318 million people that call the U.S home?  It is such a well-known phrase that it is actually regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) so it can’t just be placed on any product.

There is something innate in the American mindset and spirit that if we made something ourselves it must be better than if someone else did.  Now, whether that is a true statement or not doesn’t really matter.  What matters is that pride in our country and our abilities brings Americans together in a time in our history when we tend to be more split about issues than anything else.

Since we are in the midst of 4th of July celebrations we thought we’d take a deeper look at manufacturing in the U.S. and just how we got to where we are today.

Manufacturing has been a vital part of the U.S. economy since the very beginning.  In 1820 the U.S. Industrial Revolution began and with that brought new cutting edge machinery (for the time) and the use of factories in production. This would mark a major turning point in history for American manufacturing which would pave the way for future accomplishments to be possible. One of the most well-known accomplishments was when Henry Ford created the first affordable automobile with the Model T in 1908.  And it only cost $850!  By 1927 Ford saw the 15 millionth Model T produced at his plant in Michigan.

made is the usa

The reason Ford was able to produce such a large number of them is because in 1913 he invented the 1st moving assembly line in the world which forever changed our ability to do mass production.  Ever since the early 1900’s America has been known world-wide for its manufacturing.  As with any industry it has gone through some ups and downs.  Just drive through the Kensington and Fishtown neighborhoods in North Philly and you’ll see the evidence from the numerous abandoned factories that used to be the cornerstone of a booming economy.

As the city grew, factories got pushed to the suburbs or the country, where there is more space to work and less people.  So now the old factory buildings are being turned into apartment complexes or office space for high technology start-ups, while new factories are located in surrounding counties.  This allows them to pull talented engineers and professionals from a wider radius of the Greater Philadelphia Area.

If we dive into a specific sector of Manufacturing it is possible to see what the workforce numbers look like on a smaller scale.  For example the Department of Labor’s website has a page dedicated to Machinery Manufacturing where you can find specific employment numbers from 2015 about a variety of careers in that specific field.  Such as there being approximately 41,000 mechanical engineers, 78,000 machinists, and 117,000 team assemblers in the U.S. workforce today.  Now obviously these are only a few of the critical jobs that exist in the manufacturing world, but it gives you an idea of the number of people that are needed to make the industry as successful as it is today.

Here at Kane Partners, we have been lucky in getting the chance to work closely alongside well known manufacturing companies in their staffing efforts.  Getting to connect talented professionals with great companies where their levels of technical knowledge and passion will be matched and even expanded, is always a highlight for us.

So the next time you notice that something has “Made In America” written on it, take a pause and think about what it means, where the U.S. manufacturing industry comes from and where it is going in the future.