Fun Facts Friday: Shareable 'Did-You-Knows' About Manufacturing

There are few things in life more satisfying than dropping a random factoid into casual conversation and feeling completely brilliant because of it (though most of us are too modest to admit that, myself included).

Data from the Department of Labor shows only 4.8 percent of workers in welding, soldering and brazing were women in 2014. Krystal Frank, an Illinois-based welder, is the only female welder with her current company.
Data from the Department of Labor shows only 4.8 percent of workers in welding, soldering and brazing were women in 2014. Krystal Frank, an Illinois-based welder, is the only female welder with her current company.

There are few things in life more satisfying than dropping a random factoid into casual conversation and feeling completely brilliant because of it (though most of us are too modest to admit that, myself included). That's why, in a casual-Friday style, I wanted to share a few manufacturing fun facts with you that are definitely water cooler conversation-worthy. Enjoy!

  1. Yes, we're still a little worried about the skills gap, but here's a nice number to think about: manufacturers have hired more than 800,000 people since the end of the Great Recession.
     
  2. Each dollar spent in manufacturing brings another $1.81 to the U.S. economy. 
     
  3. According to a Forbes article last year, an American manufacturing worker is correlated with 10 to 12 times the output of a Chinese manufacturing worker. (Note: that's not necessarily a commentary on ability, but rather the better infrastructure available in the U.S.)
     
  4. The next time someone tries to play up the misconception that manufacturing jobs don't pay well, hit them with this one: the average U.S. manufacturing employee in 2014 earned $79,553 annually.
     
  5. I know politically it may feel like the end of the world at the moment, but when it comes to imports and exports, here's an impressive fact: American-made exports have quadrupled over the past 25 years — from $329.5 billion in 1990 to $1.403 trillion in 2014. 
     
  6. If the U.S. manufacturing industry was considered its own economy, it'd be the ninth-largest in the world in terms of GDP.
     
  7. It takes a lot to power the industry — 31.5 quadrillion Btu of energy in 2014, to be precise. That's more than 30 percent of the country's total energy consumption, and probably why energy is such an important conversation right now in industrial settings. 
     
  8. Ever wonder why the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline (and situations similar to it) are so important in conversation? A new study found new pipelines meant more than 347,000 jobs — including 60,000 in manufacturing.  
     
  9. Chemical products was the top manufacturing sector in 2013 at $345.7 million. How many of you work in the chemical industry? 
     
  10. If you're ever feeling down at work, just remember, no worker is too small to matter — manufacturers on average pay $19,564 per employee to comply with federal regulations; nearly double the amount of the cost for other industries. (Another reason to not be too irritated with your boss if  he's nagging you to put on your PPE!)

Information gathered from the National Association of Manufacturers and Forbes

More in Economics