Equipment makers’ return to growth leaves room for improvement

By Larry StewartMarch 14, 2023

Top10 States for Equipment Manufacturing Jobs (Image: Association of Equipment Manufacturers)

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers says the equipment manufacturing industry returned to growth in 2022, and its economic impact can be breathtaking. The association issued a report prepared by the Market Intelligence Team at S&P Global and details the impact of  three major sectors – agriculture, construction, and mining – that make up the equipment manufacturing industry. ahead of the association’s largest trade show, CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023.

Key findings from the AEM Economic Impact Report include:

  • The equipment manufacturing industry supports 2.35 million jobs, including direct, indirect, and induced employment, in the U.S.
  • The industry directly employs approximately 427,000 American workers.
  • The equipment manufacturing industry comprises 11% of the total U.S. manufacturing employment base, or 1 in 9 U.S. manufacturing jobs.
  • The equipment manufacturing industry contributes $316 billion to U.S. GDP annually.
  • On average, equipment manufacturing jobs pay 33% above the national average.
  • Equipment manufacturing supports more than 1,000 jobs in 44 states, with a total employment impact of more than 10,000 in 32 states. The Top 10 states support a total of 1.6 million jobs.
Top 10 States for Equipment Manufacturing GDP Impact (Image: Association of Equipment Manufacturers)

Return to growth for the equipment manufacturing industry in 2022 is part of a broader rebound in U.S. manufacturing output, which saw nominal output increase by an estimated 14% in 2022. The 4.2% employment growth seen by the equipment manufacturing industry in 2022 outpaced broader manufacturing-employment growth of 3.8% seen last year.

“Equipment manufacturers, like many other sectors in the U.S. economy, have weathered economic uncertainty during a global pandemic. But we answered the call and kept our factory floors open to produce the equipment that kept critical people and goods moving. We got the job done. This report is a testament to the grit and resiliency of the 2.35 million men and women who build, power, and feed America,” said 2023 AEM Chair and Komatsu North America Chairman and CEO Rod Schrader.

Rebounding global supply chains and increased availability of raw materials have helped U.S. manufacturing turn a corner. The Global Supply Chain Pressure Index, maintained by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, hit an all-time high in November 2021, but by February 2023 it had retreated to just below the historical average. This suggests that on average, global supply chain conditions have begun to return to normal.

But persistent labor shortages and low inventories still pose a risk. AEM said semiconductor inventories have grown to an average of 50% of their optimal inventory levels, electrical breakers are at 40% of optimal, and rubber tracks are at 10%, but the next few years should see steady output growth.

“Fueled by a legacy of grit and ingenuity, America’s equipment manufacturers can outcompete anyone, but we need the right mix of policies to continue to bolster manufacturing in America. With expanded opportunities to sell our products overseas, immigration reform that addresses our workforce needs, and improvements to the federal permitting process, equipment manufacturers can continue to invest in their communities, grow their businesses, and hire more Americans,” said AEM Senior Vice President, Government and Industry Relations Kip Eideberg.

Click here to access the 2023 AEM Economic Impact Report.

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