Manufacturing Industry

The manufacturing sector consists of establishments engaged in the mechanical, physical, or chemical transformation of materials, substances, or components into new products.

Counts from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program show that the manufacturing sector employs many workers, but in a relatively small number of establishments.

  • Over 64 percent of workers in the goods-producing sectors (which includes natural resources and mining, and construction) are manufacturing employees, yet manufacturing accounts for less than 30 percent of goods-producing establishments.

  • In the economy as a whole, manufacturing represents almost 12 percent of all employment, yet less than 5 percent of all establishments.

Current Employment Statistics estimates show annual average employment in manufacturing above 17 million between 1994 and 2000, before declining sharply. During 2003, manufacturing employment averaged 14,525,000.

Employment in manufacturing

  • Employment of production workers in manufacturing followed a similar pattern over the same period, with numbers above 12 million until a decline beginning in 2001. In 2003, production workers in manufacturing averaged 10,200,000.

  • The average weekly hours of production workers in manufacturing were 40.4 in 2003, well above the private industry average of 33.7 for production and nonsupervisory workers.

  • Average hourly earnings of production workers in manufacturing were $15.74 in 2003, slightly higher than the average of $15.35 for production and nonsupervisory workers in all private industry.

Average hourly earnings of production workers in manufacturing

In 2003, the unemployment rate of persons most recently employed in manufacturing industries was 6.6 percent, according to the Current Population Survey. The overall unemployment rate was 6.0 percent.

Data from the Mass Layoff Statistics program show that, in 2002, there were 2,378 extended mass layoff events in manufacturing, resulting in 454,034 separations of workers from their jobs and 469,774 initial claimants for unemployment insurance.

Employment Projections data indicate that manufacturing employment will decrease 1.0 percent over the 2002-12 period. Total employment for all industry sectors is projected to increase 14.8 percent.

Labor productivity - defined as output per hour - grew by 5.1 percent in manufacturing from 2002 to 2003, according to data from the Productivity and Costs program. Productivity and unit labor cost data are available for the manufacturing sector as a whole, both on a labor productivity basis and on a multifactor productivity basis. There are separate measures of productivity for many detailed manufacturing industries.

The Producer Price Index for the net output of total manufacturing industries increased 2.5 percent from 2002 to 2003.

In 2003, there were 416 fatal occupational injuries in manufacturing and 973,600 nonfatal injuries and illnesses, according to data from the Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities program. The nonfatal injuries and illnesses incidence rate was 6.8 per 100 full-time workers in manufacturing and 5.0 per 100 full-time workers in all private industry.

Some businesses in this industry are:

Aircraft Equipment Maker
Aircraft Manufacturing
Animal Food Manufacturing
Apparel Manufacturing
Arts and Crafts
Canvas Work
Cement Manufacturing
Chemical Manufacturing
Clay Product Manufacturing
Commercial Bakeries
Commercial Printing
Computer Equipment Manufacturing
Cross Stitch
Electronic Manufacturing
Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing
Food Manufacturing
Furniture Manufacturing
Glass Product Manufacturing
Iron and Steel Mills
Jewelry Manufacturing
Lace Making
Machine Shops
Machinery and Equipment Manufacturing
Metal Manufacturing
Mineral Product Manufacturing
Motor Vehicle Manufacturing
Paper Product Manufacturing
Petroleum Refineries
Plastics Product Manufacturing
Retail Bakeries
Rubber Product Manufacturing
Rug Making
Textile Product Milling
Tobacco Product Manufacturing
Wood Preservation
Wood Product Manufacturing


Information courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.