Why manufacturing still matters

American sociologist Daniel Bell once predicted that the U.S. would eventually transform into a "post-industrial society." This means that instead of having an economy based on manufacturing, the service sector would contribute to the majority of wealth generation.

In the past decade or so, this view of events has become more popular as Americans have watched factories close and jobs move overseas. But while it is clear that the economy has changed, it is not the case that manufacturing no longer matters. Quite the contrary. Though the sector is diminished and employs fewer people in the U.S., it is still highly productive. In fact, U.S. manufacturers have never made more products than they do today.

As pointed out by a recent article in the Winona Daily News, manufacturing still accounts for about 12 percent of the nation's gross domestic product. The difference is that the types of goods that are being manufactured here are different than those that were assembled decades ago. Though many common consumer products are made overseas, the U.S. is increasingly acting as a home for high-tech manufacturing for the biomedical and auto industries, among others.

Texas has been home to much of that growth, thanks to low taxes, a favorable business climate, affordable land and abundant energy resources. Last month, Toyota announced that it would move its corporate center from California to Plano, citing many of these factors. As other industries follow suit, it is becoming increasingly clear that the availability of CNC machining services and infrastructure will support ongoing growth for manufacturing in Texas.