Growth in the U.S. industrial sector is continuing to rise at the same rate or even faster than the economy as a whole, according to Martin Baily and Barry Bosworth of the Brookings Institution. This is a clear indication that manufacturing is still of major importance to the U.S. economy. With the combination of lower energy prices, innovative information technologies and advances in robotics and materials science, a manufacturing revolution is boosting the economy, making the US an industrial powerhouse.
Unfortunately, some are still skeptical and believe that the industry is in a downward spiral because a relative increase in jobs hasn’t been reached. More products are being produced and fewer workers are being hired. Between 2000 and 2010, the United States lost 5.7 million manufacturing jobs. The recession is a main factor for this decrease in jobs, however, American manufacturing is bouncing back and approaching a dramatic change.
New advances with robotics have allowed manufacturing facilities to become more efficient and precise. The new materials being introduced are causing significant changes for the high-performance market as well. As Baily and Bosworth write: “Applying the technology to carbon nanotubes and graphene has allowed the creation of high-performance transistors and ultra-strong and light composite materials. Fluorescent nano-particles are used in biological labeling and solar cells. In biotechnology, nanoenabled technologies allow more rapid diagnosis of illnesses, detect contaminants, and provide glucose monitoring and many other applications.”
And of course another major change for the manufacturing industry is the newly exposed additive manufacturing process – 3-D printing. Creating almost any shape from a digital model has allowed manufacturers to produce all kinds of items for multiple applications. As innovative solutions find ways to drive the industrial sector, there will be an increase of jobs and the economy will keep growing.