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Leadership Wanted: The Public’s View of the Manufacturing Industry Today

2012 annual index


The U.S. economic recovery and job creation continue to be important concerns for many Americans, particularly in light of the 2012 elections. The American public continues to show very strong support for manufacturing and a deep understanding of the economic benefits that result from a vibrant manufacturing sector. Yet, Americans continue to have mixed views regarding the future of manufacturing in the United States.

What are some important takeaways from the fourth annual study?
  • Americans value a strong manufacturing sector.
  • Americans want stronger policies to support manufacturing.
  • Americans believe the U.S. manufacturing industry has the ability to compete globally but are looking for better leadership from both policymakers and business leaders to support U.S. competitiveness.
  • Americans view the manufacturing sector as fragile and unstable.
  • Americans want manufacturing jobs…for someone else.
  • Americans lack confidence in their school system’s ability to provide the necessary skills and career guidance required to pursue a job in manufacturing.
  • Americans have strong perspectives on what needs to change to bolster manufacturing competitiveness

Interestingly, Americans’ support of manufacturing and their views regarding career stability have not changed over the last four years. Americans have consistently and resoundingly voiced their opinions relative to the importance of manufacturing, and consistently expressed strong support for a wide range of actions to ensure a position of strength for the U.S. manufacturing sector. This is good news for both policy makers and business leaders. It suggests that despite the frequent swings of public opinion on a wide range of topics, Americans remain steadfast in their commitment to creating a strong, healthy, globally competitive manufacturing sector in the United States, no matter the prevailing economic winds.

We created this annual research program to provide a running view of the U.S. public’s perspectives on manufacturing to supplement the many other research reports and perspectives of economists, policymakers, business leaders and other stakeholders that have important points of view relevant to this discussion. To learn more about Deloitte’s research in today’s global competitive landscape, visit

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