Thomas, the leader in product sourcing, supplier selection and marketing solutions for the manufacturing industry, released results from its “Manufacturing Perception Report.” The survey dives into Americans' perceptions about the manufacturing industry, ranging in topics from careers to automation.
Nearly 76 percent of respondents said that they were familiar with the manufacturing industry, however, results suggest that Americans are unaware of the robust state of the manufacturing sector.
“It was surprising to see that half of the respondents feel that the current state of the manufacturing industry is ‘stable but weak or in decline.’ In fact, the opposite holds true: the state of manufacturing is greater than ever—a trend we can expect to continue with innovation, a strong economy and increased national awareness,” says Tony Uphoff, Thomas President & CEO.
The survey found that there was a generational divide between baby boomers (52 percent) and Gen X (50 percent) regarding the quality of of U.S. made products. While Baby Boomers and Gen X believe that they are superior, 47 percent of Millennials and 43 percent of Gen Zers think the quality of products are typically the same of those made elsewhere. However, a majority (61 percent) prefer products that are made locally.
Additionally, 51 percent of respondents believe that the manufacturing sector is important to national security, while 87 percent think that the sector is only somewhat important to national security.
When asked about which industries automation will have the biggest impact on, manufacturing took the lead with 34 percent, followed by transportation at 15 percent, retail with 11 percent and fast food with 10 percent. Respondents claim that the biggest problem facing the manufacturing sector is the adoption of robotics and automation.
Two-thirds of respondents said that they were likely to encourage someone in the workforce to pursue a career in manufacturing, while half of respondents think of the industry as high-tech. However, the industry is facing a labor shortage with more jobs remaining unfilled.
“Manufacturing has been the backbone of the American economy since the 1800s,” adds Uphoff. “We are experiencing a renaissance right now that has a lot of promise for job growth and stability for years to come.”