While only one quarter of respondents think the current state of manufacturing is either growing or stable but strong, 95% of all respondents stated that manufacturing is important to the U.S. economy, as outlined in the “Manufacturing Perception Report,” presented by Thomas, New York.

The national survey examines Americans’ perceptions about the manufacturing industry, including sustainability and tariffs, as well as whether they plan to pursue a career in this sector.

“Since the skills gap is one of the biggest issues the industry is facing, it’s good to see that 60% of survey respondents would likely encourage someone entering the workforce to pursue a career in manufacturing,” says Tony Uphoff, president and CEO. “In reality, there has never been a more exciting time for industry, as output is at an all-time high and job growth continues to rise.” 

Among the survey’s findings:

  • America’s brand. 62% of respondents prefer to buy products made in America, while 55% of respondents think the quality of U.S.-made products is superior to the quality of products made in Asia or Central America. Meanwhile, 57% of respondents think that products made in Europe are typically of the same quality as products made in the United States.
  • Manufacturing careers. 79% of Americans think government funding should be used to support apprenticeship initiatives.
  • Sustainability. 75% of respondents report that sustainability has a very important or large impact on the goods and services they purchase.
  • National security. A combined total of 87% of respondents feel a strong manufacturing sector is very or at least somewhat important to national security.
  • Tariffs. 46% of Americans feel increasing tariffs on imported foreign goods and services is too disruptive for the U.S. economy.

“We’re excited to share Americans’ views, concerns and perceptions about the future of the industry,” says Uphoff. “We are pleased to see the value of American manufactured brands remain strong, which matches the overall positive trends we’re seeing in the U.S. manufacturing industry.”


The study was conducted online using Survey Monkey, polling over 1,000 participants across the United States. Participants were all over the age of 18 and represented a broad range in income, geographic location and gender.