Companies in this industry manufacture a wide variety of goods; major product groups include food and beverages, chemicals, machinery, transportation equipment, and computers and electronics. Major companies include Boeing, Caterpillar, DuPont, Ford, GE, GM, HP, IBM, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, and Tyson Foods (all based in the US); Nestlé (Switzerland), Sanofi (France), Siemens (Germany), and Toyota Motor (Japan).
The global manufacturing sector generates about $12 trillion in annual revenue, according to the UN. Top manufacturing countries include China, the US, Japan, Germany, South Korea, India, Italy, France, and the UK. Leading exporting countries include China, the US, Germany, the UK, Japan, France, the Netherlands, and South Korea. Growth drivers include rapid industrialization in the developing world, along with the use of technology to improve products and supply chains.
The US manufacturing sector consists of about 256,000 companies with combined annual sales of about $5.7 trillion.
Demand ultimately depends on consumer spending. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficient production and distribution. Large companies often have large economies of scale in purchasing, production, and marketing. Small companies can compete effectively by producing specialized products. The US manufacturing sector is fragmented: the largest 50 companies account for less than half of overall sales.
Computer systems and controls have steadily increased the labor productivity of US manufacturers in the last 10 years. Even so, US labor costs remain high, and many manufacturers have moved production operations to lower-cost countries like...