Each year, following the start of the school year and just before No Shave November, the country takes some time to celebrate an important part of our heritage and our economy. October is manufacturing month, where we celebrate the contributions of this important economic sector. Millions are employed by companies that still produce American-made goods.
Manufacturing is not dead in America. Our nation has produced the world’s largest economy by far and a massive portion of that was built, and still is, based on manufacturing production.
Here in Texas, manufacturing accounts for over $230 billion total output (nearly 13% of total gross state product). More than 17,000 manufacturers employ over 900,000 at an average compensation range of of $87,800 per year; almost twice the average of all non-farm business positions ($48,800 per year). Source: National Association of Manufacturers
Regionally, manufacturers have (thankfully) been one of the least impacted by coronavirus and subsequent shutdowns. Companies are still looking to make investments, and many are looking to expand or relocate to Texas.
Everyone is aware of the major Tesla announcement made earlier this year. Fewer will know that of the six project announcements in Round Rock that have occurred this year, half are manufacturers. The result will be an additional $4.5 million invested in Round Rock and employ another 250 people at these companies.
Just this week we celebrated the decision of Saleen Performance Parts to locate its manufacturing and headquarters in Round Rock. You can read more in this week’s edition of The WiN. Special Products & Manufacturing and AYRO. have also chosen to invest in facilities in Round Rock.
The perception that manufacturing is on the decline is an understandable, if mistaken view. While manufacturing employs fewer people than it did in the 1970’s for example, U.S. manufacturing continues to be the most productive in the world. In fact, since the end of World War II manufacturing has continued to increase in productivity nearly every year to 2020.
It is unfortunate that at least two generations of students have been encouraged to avoid careers in manufacturing. Much of this is based on outdated stereotypes of what production-based jobs entail. Manufacturing jobs are no longer characterized by poor conditions in loud, dirty, hot, unsafe facilities. In fact, the competition for skilled and reliable trades men and women has led employers to invest heavily in facilities, trading, and programs for their teams. Production facilities now are some of the cleanest and safest to work in.
Furthermore, the drive for higher productivity through automation has made modern manufacturing jobs dependent on a skilled workforce that is equally comfortable with a computer operated laser cutter and a traditional welder. High throughput facilities depend on people who can run Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) machining to run far more than had assembly operators now. Automation has been America’s pathway to continued competitiveness internationally.
Furthermore, the mix of products produced isn’t limited to traditional materials now. Central Texas has a long history of innovation and manufacturing semiconductor circuit boards as well as the software design to run the systems they govern.
Please join us in celebrating Manufacturing Month 2020.