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Machinery Manufacturing

We next consider job losses in the manufacture of machinery (NAICS 333).  If you are thinking that sounds like a big category, you are right.  However, it is important to appreciate the breadth and depth of this category as we contemplate whether jobs in these sectors matter and whether it is a good idea to have these machinery products, or their components, made elsewhere.  (It is also important to note that many of these machinery products are used in the manufacture of other products.  So, if the manufacture of those products goes offshore, then these machinery industries die, except to the extent that we can sell this machinery to foreign manufacturers).  Here we find:

  • Machinery used in farming and extraction, including farm machinery and equipment including tractors and planting and harvesting equipment, mining machinery including drilling and processing equipment, and oil and gas drilling rigs and other equipment;
  • Machinery used in construction including cranes, loaders, dozers, trucks, mixers, pavers, and backhoes;
  • Machinery used in general manufacturing including Industrial process furnaces and ovens, boilers, furnaces, and other heating equipment, Industrial molds, dies, tools, jigs and fixtures, hydraulic and pneumatic power cylinders and pumps, industrial fans, blowers and purification equipment, rolling mill and other metalworking machinery, overhead cranes and hoists, Industrial trucks, tractors, trailers, and stacking machines, machine tools including lathes, milling, cutting, punching, and other metal forming tools, Conveyors and conveying equipment, and packaging machinery; machinery used in specific manufacturing including food and beverage processing equipment, semiconductor machinery, sawmill, woodworking, paper, and printing machinery, plastics and rubber working machinery, textile, chemical, and foundry machinery, and optical instruments and lens production machinery;
  • Industrial and commercial intermediate and end-use machinery including mechanical power transmission equipment, pumps and pumping equipment, air and gas compressors, turbines and turbine generator sets, internal combustion engines, elevators and escalators, welding and soldering equipment, power-driven hand tools, and air-conditioning and warm air heating equipment and commercial and industrial refrigeration equipment; and
  • Commercial and service industry machinery including photographic and photocopying equipment, vending machines, laundry and dry cleaning machinery, mailing and other office machines, commercial cooking and food service equipment, commercial and industrial vacuum cleaners, automotive maintenance equipment, and teaching machines.

Manufacturing facilities in this large and diverse subsector, which employed 1,423,100 workers at the beginning of 1990, employed an average 1,129,000 in 2014.  The following figure and table illustrate those job losses:


After a dip following the 1990-91 recession, we see a substantial increase through the economic expansion of the 1990s, to some 1.5 million jobs in 1998, and then a partial decline.  Following is a precipitous fall-off beginning after 2000, coincident with the 2001 recession and the granting of permanent most favored nation status and WTO membership to China.  Showing a modest recovery from 2004 through 2008, job losses accelerate again through the Great Recession, bottoming out at about 996,000 jobs in 2010, for a loss of some 518,000 jobs.  Since the low of 2010, employment has seen a recovery of some 133,000 (26%) of the lost jobs, to an average of 1,129,000 jobs in 2014.

Key Finding:

Between 1998 and 2014, after experiencing a partial recovery in 2010-2014, the industries in the machinery manufacturing subsector[i] lost one out of every four jobs, a 25% decline in employment, some 328,000 jobs in all.


GO TO Group 7.


[i] Industries in the Machinery Manufacturing subsector create end products that apply mechanical force, for example, the application of gears and levers, to perform work. Some important processes for the manufacture of machinery are forging, stamping, bending, forming, and machining that are used to shape individual pieces of metal. Processes, such as welding and assembling are used to join separate parts together. Although these processes are similar to those used in metal fabricating establishments, machinery manufacturing is different because it typically employs multiple metal forming processes in manufacturing the various parts of the machine. Moreover, complex assembly operations are an inherent part of the production process.  The machinery manufacturing subsector consists of these industry groups: Agriculture, Construction, and Mining Machinery Manufacturing (NAICS 3331); Industrial Machinery Manufacturing (NAICS 3332); Commercial and Service Industry Machinery Manufacturing (NAICS 3333); Ventilation, Heating, Air-Conditioning, and Commercial Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturing (NAICS 3334); Metalworking Machinery Manufacturing (NAICS 3335); Engine, Turbine, and Power Transmission Equipment Manufacturing (NAICS 3336); and Other General Purpose Machinery Manufacturing (NAICS 3339).  [North American Industry Classification, published at]


News and Events

May 15, 2014, Ontario, CA - MIAA's founder, Jim Stuber, delivered the keynote address at the 20th annual World Trade Conference sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the California Inland Empire District Export Council in Ontario, California.  To view the conference agenda, click here:

New file download

May 7, 2015, Radnor, PA.  MIAA's founder, Jim Stuber, appeared as the guest of host Richard J. Anthony, Sr. on The Entrepreneur's Network TV at Radnor Studio 21.  The program featured a discussion of the problems caused by offshoring manufacturing and white collar jobs and how consmers can solve the problem with their spending decisions. 

Studio 21 has made the program available for viewing here:

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