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Manufacturing Industry Statistics

Applied Economics in US Manufacturing

Assembly Plant
Photo Credit: The Chrysler 200 Factory Tour, an interactive online experience using Google Maps Business View technology, takes consumers inside the new 5-million-square-foot Sterling Heights Assembly Plant for a behind-the-scenes peek at how the 2015 Chrysler 200 is built.

There are three primary aspects of examining U.S. manufacturing statistics on competitiveness: (1) how the U.S. industry compares to other countries, (2) the trends in the domestic industry, and (3) the industry trends compared to those in other countries. NIST AMS 100-49 provides statistics on these aspects. Below are highlights from this publication. Due to the necessity to use a selection of datasets, there may be minor discrepancies between various statistics. Additional data and statistics can be estimated using NIST’s Manufacturing Cost Guide.

Manufacturing in Brief

Some brief figures on U.S. manufacturing include the following:

  • In 2021, Manufacturing contributed $2.3 trillion to U.S. GDP amounting to 12.0 % of total U.S. GDP.
    • Including direct and indirect (i.e., purchases from other industries) value added, manufacturing contributed an estimated 24 % of GDP.
  • In 2020, U.S. manufacturing imported 18.2 % of its intermediate goods/services, resulting in 10.6 % of the output being of foreign origin.
  • According to the Current Population Survey, there were 14.7 million employees in U.S. manufacturing in 2021, representing 9.6 % of total U.S. employment
  • Manufacturing accounted for 76.6% of total U.S. environmental impact according to NIST’s Manufacturing Cost Guide
  • Average compensation in U.S. manufacturing is 8.8 % higher than that for total private industry

U.S. as a Brand

Frequently, countries are discussed as brands. Two rankings provide insight into the U.S. as a brand:

  • U.S. ranks 10th among 49 total countries in Statistica’s Made-in-Country Index
  • U.S. ranks 8th in the Ipsos National Brands Index


Inflation has increased in recent years, which diminishes purchasing power.

  • The prices received by producers for all manufacturing for the past two years between July 2020 and July 2022 has increased 33.9 %
  • In the fifteen years prior to that (i.e., June 2005 to June 2020) it increased 27.1 % in total


Cumulative Percent Change
Figure 4.6 from NIST AMS 100-49: Inflation - Cumulative Percent Change in the Producer Price Index (Selling Price Received), 2005-2022

Manufacturing Growth

  • U.S. compound real (i.e., controlling for inflation) annual growth between 1995 and 2020 (i.e., 25-year growth) was 2.0 %, which places the U.S. below the 50th percentile.
  • The compound annual growth for the U.S. between 2014 and 2020 (i.e., 5-year growth) was 1.2 %. This puts the U.S. just below the 50th percentile.


Figure 2.2 from AMS 100-49: National 5-Year Compound Annual Growth, by Country (2015 to 2020): Higher is Better

Manufacturing Industry Size

  • U.S. manufacturing value added, as measured in constant 2015 dollars, is the second largest behind that of China.
  • Among the ten largest manufacturing countries, the U.S. is the 4th largest manufacturing value added per capita. Out of all countries the most recent U.S. rank is 13th
  • The U.S. ranks 1st in 7 manufacturing industries out of 16 total, while China was the largest for the other industries, as seen in Figure 2.6.
Figure 2.6 from AMS 100-42: Global Manufacturing Value Added by Industry, Top Five Producers and Rest of World (ROW) (2015) – 64 Countries


  • The five-year annual compound growth in labor productivity is -0.6 %.  
  • The five-year annual compound growth in multifactor productivity is -0.4 %.
  • The U.S. is ranked ninth in output per hour among 133 countries using data from the Conference Board
Manufacturing Multifactor Productivity Index
Figure 4.8 from AMS 100-49: Manufacturing Multifactor Productivity Index (2012 Base Year = 100)

Economic Environment

There is no agreed upon measure for examining the environment for research, innovation, and other factors for doing business, but there are a number of common measures, which are discussed below.

  • The ranking of the U.S. in these measures is a mixed bag, ranking high in some and lower in others.
  • The U.S. ranks
    • 4th in 2020 patent applications
    • 5th in 2020 research and development expenditures as a percent of GDP
    • 17th in 2019 researchers per million people
    • 22nd in 2018 journal article publications per capita.
  • Competitiveness indexes
    • The IMD World Competitiveness Index, which measures competitiveness for conducting business, ranked the U.S. 10th  
    • The World Economic Forum, which assesses the competitiveness in determining productivity, ranked the U.S. 2nd
    • The Competitive Industrial Performance Index, which measures capacity to produce and export manufactured goods; technological deepening and upgrading; and world impact, ranked the U.S. 4th.

Types of Goods Produced

The largest manufacturing subsector in the U.S. is computer and electronic products followed by chemical manufacturing and food, beverage, and tobacco products, as seen in Figure 2.8 and Figure 2.9 from AMS 100-49.

Figure 2.8 from AMS 100-49: Value Added for Durable Goods by Type (billions of chained dollars), 2006-2021
Figure 2.8 from AMS 100-49: Value Added for Durable Goods by Type (billions of chained dollars), 2006-2021
Value Added for Nondurable Goods by Type
Figure 2.9 from AMS 100-49: Value Added for Nondurable Goods by Type (billions of chained dollars), 2006-2021: Higher is Better

Manufacturing Safety, Compensation, and Profit

  • Compensation
    • As seen in Figure 4.5, employee compensation, which includes benefits, has had a five-year compound annual growth of -2.1 %.
  • Profit
    • Nonfarm proprietors’ income for manufacturing has had a five-year compound annual growth rate of -5.3 %.
    • Corporate profits have had a five-year compound annual growth of 4.6 %.
  • Safety
    • Fatalities have a five-year compound growth rate of -0.7 %.
    • Injuries have a five-year compound growth rate of -4.4 %.
    • The injury rate has a five-year compound growth rate of -4.0 %


For more information, please see NIST AMS 100-49 and the Manufacturing Cost Guide.



Created January 24, 2020, Updated November 7, 2023