Manufacturing Day: Debunking the Myths

The first Friday of each October has been declared Manufacturing Day, or MFG DAY.  The goal of MFG DAY is to address common misconceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers an opportunity to open our doors and show what manufacturing is, and what it isn’t.  This group effort helps the industry connect with future generations and shows the advantages of choosing a manufacturing career, addresses the skilled labor shortage and helps ensure the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry.

OMA president Eric Burkland said of MFG DAY, “The coolest thing about this is that it is not an event, but a drumbeat, a cause that has momentum in Ohio and the U.S. that is changing attitudes about the realities of modern American manufacturing.”

In 2014, MFG DAY exceeded all expectations with a total of 1,679 officially registered events across North America.  The movement continues to grow, with 2,579 events registered in 2017. In Ohio alone, more than 175 events are planned.

French has participated in MFG DAY since 2014 by opening our doors to groups of local students for manufacturing presentations and tours.  As a result of our participation, on Manufacturing Day in 2015 Josh Mandel, the Treasurer of Ohio, honored us for our contributions to the manufacturing industry.

Manufacturing Myths and the Realities:

Myth 1. You can’t make a good living on a manufacturing salary.

Reality: The annual average salary of entry-level manufacturing engineers is nearly $60,000.  This breaks down to $1,150 per week or almost $29/hour.  The annual average salary of manufacturing workers is more than $68,301 in Ohio, more than $25,000 higher than other non-farm employers in the state.

Myth 2.  U.S. manufacturing is all going overseas and we can’t compete with China.

Reality:  The U.S. was the second largest manufacturing nation in the world in 2012, generating $2.43 trillion annually compared to $2.9 trillion from China.  About 54% of U.S. companies manufacturing overseas are considering returning production to the United States, according to BCG.  A year ago the figure was 37%.

Myth 3.  Even if manufacturing plants come back to the U.S., they will be loaded with robots and automation in order to compete.

Reality:  If 10 manufacturing jobs left the U.S. during the mass move to China, plants coming back into the country will employ 7 workers due to changes in automation and increased productivity standards.  Many companies like ours and Airstream, the iconic RV manufacturer in Jackson Center, Ohio, manufacture complex or custom products that cannot be duplicated by machines.

Myth 4.  Manufacturing jobs are dirty, repetitive and low skilled.

Reality:  Many of today’s manufacturing jobs require the ability to operate complex computer programs and machines, the execution of advanced math skills and an understanding of how to maximize efficiency.  Many companies manufacture parts, particularly for the medical industry, in clean rooms.

Why Choose Manufacturing?

The reasons are countless.  But, to name a few:

  • On average, full-time manufacturing work pays 20% more than full-time service-sector jobs
  • 600,000 manufacturing jobs have gone unfilled because of a lack of skilled workers – the opportunities are real
  • Manufacturing workers have the highest job tenure in private sector
  • 90% of manufacturing workers have medical benefits
  • 78% of manufacturing workers get retirement contributions
  • Every $1.00 in manufactured goods generates an additional $1.32 worth of additional economic activity, higher than any other economic sector
  • Taken alone, manufacturing in the United States would be the 8th largest economy in the world

To learn more about MFG DAY or find an event near you visit www.mfgday.com.

For other resources on manufacturing in America visit the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) site or the Ohio Manufactures’ Association site.