Why Buy “Made in the USA” Products?
“Made in the USA” products are becoming more and more important each day to consumers in our country. When a recession hits this seems to increasingly be the case as people revert back to manufacturing as a stimulus for job growth. This is because Manufacturing is a large and vital part of the economies of most countries. It all starts with taking natural resources and refining them into man made materials that can be converted into tangible goods for consumers to buy and consume. Manufacturing is the primary sector that feeds all the remaining sectors. It depends on, and feeds other businesses that provide value-added services. All these businesses foster opportunities for professional services such as legal, accounting, technology and consulting. So when a product is Made in the USA, it is only natural that it will enrich growth as value is created through the supply chain to the consumer. This growth will eventually create opportunities where jobs can be created throughout the supply chain and in all sectors of the economy.
When products are Made in the USA and consumed in the USA, the manufacturing sector of the economy can employ people at all levels in the workforce, skilled and unskilled. This will create opportunities for entry level or unskilled workers to easily enter the workforce and gain the skills they need to grow and prosper. As companies produce more goods to sell, it creates more opportunities for skilled workers to add value and mange the distribution of these goods through the supply chain. As manufacturing companies grow they will also need to hire professional services to support their business, another advantage of Made in the USA products. An economy of service providers and sales people selling nothing of tangible value to each other is simply not sustainable.
As our economy grew, most corporations chose to outsource our manufacturing for cheaper prices. While this may make sense for the short term because our demand for products is on the rise, our productivity is maximized and we lack the labor force to keep up with the demand. But it is not a solution for times when our demand stabilizes or drops out due to a recession. We will eventually become dependent on imported goods and eliminate future employment opportunities for both skilled and unskilled workers. When we consume more imported goods than goods that were Made in the USA, we end up reducing the most important and vital part of our economy, the manufacturing sector. A nation that can’t make what it needs will eventually become highly dependent on importing goods from other countries and will ultimately become vulnerable to inflation and shortages of supplies.
Made in the USA means more to Americans now than ever before because they understand the overwhelming economic impact. No matter how good our schools, healthcare system, or the benefits we receive in this country, without opportunities, people will become victims. Instead of becoming contributing members of society, the more people will need society’s help.
When Americans create a demand for more Made in the USA products, employment opportunities exist for people of all skill levels, meaning jobs are created and the unemployment rate goes down. Also, with all sectors of the economy working together, we could once again become a self-sufficient nation.
Many companies today will claim that their products are “Made in the USA”. While this may be partially true it may be difficult to determine if all products used in the process of manufacturing that were purchased through the supply chain were actually “Made in the USA”. The more complex the product, the more difficult it may be to ensure that it is 100% “Made in the USA” as some products or raw materials may not be readily available in the U. S.. For example, if you were going to manufacture a pair of shoes, you could purchase rubber that was “Made in the USA” for the soles. You could also purchase metal grommets that are “Made in the USA”. You could purchase laces that were “Made in the USA”. However if you wanted to use a certain grade of leather to enhance the quality of the shoe that was not available for purchase in the U.S., you would have to import it. Although the leather was imported, you could manufacture the entire finished pair of shoes in the U.S. and claim that it was “Made in the USA”.
While it may be difficult to manufacture everything in the U.S.A., it is important that whenever raw material and/or products that are “Made in the USA” are available, we do. It keeps everyone working along the supply chain. Even if it means paying a little more, and passing the cost down the line to the consumer, when everyone is working, we all benefit and can easily afford to pay a little more to support our country with “Made in the USA” products.
To increase productivity of the American work force, companies often have to invest in capital equipment and machinery. If the equipment itself is not “Made in the USA”, companies have to invest in imported machinery and equipment. This imported equipment may not contribute to the ideal scenario, but can contribute to workers making more “Made in the USA” products in the long run. Eventually, this equipment can also be replaced or upgraded to “Made in the USA” machinery.
While it still may make sense to import manufactured goods from other countries, many products that can be Made in the USA cost effectively are often over-looked. There are many reasons (and sometimes excuses) why many products are no longer Made in the USA. One common excuse is price, but in many cases, the costs associated with shipping (fuel, insurance, customs, etc.) are not factored into the equation. After all of the expenses are accounted for, the retail price of some foreign-made products, which may seem on the surface to be less, is actually more. Other commonly overlooked problems with foreign made products include low (or no) quality control and the damage they can do to a company’s reputation, not to mention safety issues and any associated long-term liability expenses.
It has also become more difficult to find places to buy products that are Made in the USA. Nonetheless, each of us, as consumers, corporations, and as a nation and government, all have the power to make this happen by supporting businesses that can truly say their products were Made in the USA. But it takes a commitment. And it begins with an understanding of both the benefits of manufacturing and purchasing “Made in the USA” products, as well as understanding the long-term perils of continuing on our current path.