Lost Manufacturing

American stores are full of cheap crap made overseas. Your home, most likely, is full of cheap crap made overseas. With so many big US companies doing offshore manufacturing, many – if not most – of the common items we buy are manufactured overseas.

Lost Manufacturing

There’s still a lot of manufacturing done in the US, although close scrutiny reveals that it falls into limited categories. Only a couple generations ago, the United States was a manufacturing dynasty. We made almost everything imaginable and, in fact, very little of what US consumers bought as made overseas.

It’s very different after decades of globalization and free trade. American corporations have closed down American factories and offshored manufacturing. Most famous of the hard-hit areas is Detroit – which used to make the vast majority of cars sold in the US. Ironically, auto manufacturing has returned to the US – but not necessarily to Detroit – and as often as not the cars being built here carry foreign nameplates.

Current US Manufacturing

There are segments of manufacturing that still happen here in the US – and a fair amount of assembly (making finished goods from components that might or might not be US sourced.) Here are a few of the outstanding segments available for retail:

Apparel … US-made clothing, thankfully, is still robust. Jeans are one particular subset that’s mostly made in America. Casual, sports and business / dressy fashions for women, men and kids are also commonly made in the US. Shoes are harder to find, although there’s plenty to choose from if you search for them (most shoes are made overseas.)

Jewelry and accessories … this is another area where a there’s a lot of US-made products. This category includes bags and backpacks, gear for smartphones and tablets, sunglasses etc.

Kids’ stuff … there’s plenty of clothing, bedding, furniture, toys and more for kids that’s made in the US.

Bath, personal care and wellness … this is another category where American manufacturing is strong. Soaps, lotions, cosmetics and other body care items as well as nutrition and fitness products are plentiful.

Kitchen … glassware, cookware, utensils, pottery – you name it, there’s a great selection of kitchen goods made in the US across the entire product range.

Home & Décor … furniture, home accessories, fixtures, cleaning products, lawn & garden goods, bedding and decorative articles are among the many products in this category.

Handcrafts … American artisans turn out a wealth of excellent products of all types. From individual artists working flea markets to large organizations that employ talented crafts people, we can keep our money in the US by seeking these out.

Paper products … the US grows a lot of trees for paper, plus has excellent recycling programs, so paper products are a good American product line also. Environmental awareness has turned this into a good niche where paper products are being made sustainably.

Heavy manufacturing items that contribute to the wholesale and industrial world are the topic of another article – but the above should at least give you an idea of what’s out there.

Buy American!

Be mindful, when you can, to buy USA-made products. It’s true that the US imports a massive volume of retail goods, and in some cases it’s all but impossible to buy American. Electronics is one example – again, the topic for another article. Just keep an eye out, and most of all, START ASKING. Ask retailers what they carry that’s made in the USA. The more people ask – the more retailers will have to respond and stock US-made goods.

Your dollars matter. Buying American-made goods is one of the best things you can do for the US economy. Let’s work together to support US business!

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