Surprise: The US Still Manufactures Things  

April 30, 2012

You may have heard news reports about how we still have a very large manufacturing industry in the US.

But, it appeared to me that almost every manufactured item that I considered purchasing in a store was made in China.  How could this be, if we still had a large manufacturing industry in this country according to the US government?

Well, I did some research and discovered some surprising information.  The US government’s definition of “manufacturing” was different than what I thought of when I heard the word “manufacturing.”

When you buy a pound of ground beef at the grocery store, you have purchased a manufactured item according to the US government.   Likewise, when you purchase a fresh or frozen turkey from the grocery store to cook for Thanksgiving, you have purchased a manufactured item.

That’s right.  Beef processing and poultry processing are two of our largest manufacturing industries.

Likewise, the fresh fish lying on ice for sale at your local grocery store is a manufactured item.  “Scaling” a fish makes it a manufactured item.

Also, the gasoline that you bought this morning for your car is a manufactured item.  And when you paid your electric bill last month, you were buying a manufactured item.

So, if we have a hot summer, and more electricity is produced to run all the air conditioners, we have increased our manufacturing output.

And groceries such as bread, cookies, cans of beans, bags of sugar, flour, soft drinks, etc. are all manufactured items.  And that bottle of water that you drank with lunch was a manufactured item.   And the prescription that you recently got filled at your local pharmacy was a manufactured item.  (Even the active ingredients for many, if not most, of our drugs are actually made in China by Chinese workers.)

So, when our government talks about more manufacturing workers were hired last month, it may mean that more workers were hired to help kill and pull the feathers off chickens.  Are these the highly skilled well-paying jobs that we were promised by the free trade advocates?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *