Still, it’s a stretch to say, as is commonly heard, that the U.S. doesn’t make anything anymore. In fact, Sirkin says, the U.S makes about three-quarters of all the manufactured goods (including components) it consumes. The chemical and plastics industries are thriving, thanks to declining natural gas prices, and foreign automakers including VMW, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes, and Volkswagen have opened plants in the U.S. master Lock returned (“on-shored” or “insourced” in labor-speak) 100 union jobs to its.

The U.S makes about three-quarters of all the manufactured goods (including components) it consumes

The U.S makes about three-quarters of all the manufactured goods (including components) it consumes

Milwaukee lock factory. Among the companies that have dug in their heels and continued to manufacture domestically is Lenox, which says it’s the only maker of fine bone china in the U.S.

Some companies are bucking the outsourcing trend even in industries that have largely fled the U.S: large appliances, electronics, and apparel.


In 2000, Michigan-based Whirlpool manufactured most of its front-loading washers in Germany. Now the company is in the midst of making a five-year, $1 billion investment in U.S.-based plants, facilities, and equipment. Of the products Whirlpool sells in the U.S., it makes 80 percent in U.S. plants. And it continues to ramp up production of front-loaders in Ohio. Where it already makes dryers, dishwashers, freezers, and top-loaders.

Of the products Whirlpool sells in the U.S., it makes 80 percent in U.S. plants

Of the products Whirlpool sells in the U.S., it makes 80 percent in U.S. plants

“On the one hand, U.S. labor costs are often higher than in other countries,” says Casey Tubman, Whirlpool’s general manager of cleaning. “But when you look at the higher productivity for American workers and consider the fact that it’s very expensive to ship something as big as a refrigerator or washer, we can quickly make up those costs.”

Last year, Kitchen Aid returned the manufacture of hand mixers from China to the U.S., and GE opened two factories in Kentucky to make hot-water heaters and refrigerators. A spokesman for Sears told us that “through our manufacturing partner, Electrolux, more than 1,200 new American jobs will be created at a plant being built in Memphis.”

There should be plenty of demand if the industry does come back. About a third of respondents to our survey said they’d tried to buy U.S. - made appliances during the past year. And more than half of respondents perceived such appliances as having much or somewhat better quality than those made abroad.


Few TVs, cell phones, or digital cameras are made in America, but in December, Apple CEO Tim Cook said: “Next year, we will do one of our existing Mac lines in the United States.” China-based Lenovo, the world’s second-largest personal computer maker, announced last October that it would start making some PCs in North Carolina, bucking a trend “that has seen electronics manufacturing jobs migrate overseas for more than two decades,” the copay said. And Element Electronics, an American company, has been assembling LCD TVs in its Detroit factory since January 2012. The company says that opting for domestic production was “an emotional decision…maybe even a patriotic choice.”


The domestic industry has been scorched by job losses because of plentiful and cheap labor overseas. More than 90 percent of clothes and shoes sold in America are made elsewhere, according to Jack Plunkett of Houston-based Plunkett Research. Still, the industry is gaining traction in the U.S. there’s growth among designers with output too small to attract the interest of international manufacturers, and among those who simply want to be part of a Made in America movement. And as the sidebar shows, even some big names are offering at least a limited assortment of American-made garments and accessories.

To build on the momentum, president Obama, through the departments of Commerce and Labor, last fall launched the “Make it in America” challenge, offering $40 million in grants to applicants who come up with best proposals to encourage “insourcing,” spur foreign investment, and expand job opportunities through employee training programs.

Company manners matter

Although looking for U.S.-made products is important to most Americans, our national survey found that other corporate behavior matters at least as much.

All things being equal, would you be more likely, less likely, or neither to buy from a company that…

More likely

Less likely


Gives back to the local community




Treats its workers well




Expresses public support for causes you believe in engages in environmentally friendly practices




Is American, not foreign




Has manufacturing plants in your home state




Close to home (mostly)

Here’s a sampling of companies that make or assemble at least some of their products in the U.S. note that a company’s entire output isn’t necessarily American-made. And some primarily American companies may have manufacturing facilities in more than one country to meet demand overseas.


All-Clad, Lodge, and Nordic Ware cookware; Bunn coffeemakers; Dacor, DCS, Viking, and Wolf ranges; Harden Furniture; Kirby and Oreck vacuum cleaners; Lasko (mostly fans); Pyrex glassware; and Sub-Zero refrigerators.

Houseware: Wolf Ranges

Houseware: Wolf Ranges

Apparel and accessories

Allen Edmonds shoes, American Apparel, Chippewa boots, Filson apparel, Kepner Scott children’s shoes, Pendleton woolens (the Portland Collection and wool blankets and throws), Stetson hats, True Religion and Texas jeans, and Wigwam socks.

Pendleton woolens (the Portland Collection and wool blankets and throws)
Pendleton woolens (the Portland Collection and wool blankets and throws)

Tools and home equipment

Briggs & Stratton mower and tractor engines, Channellock and Moody hand tools, Maglite flashlights, Purdy paintbrushes, and rollers, Shop-Vac wet-and-dry vacuum cleaner, and Stihl gasoline-powered equipment.

Stihl gasoline-powered equipment.

Stihl gasoline-powered equipment.

Other products

Airstream trailers, Annin flags, Crayola crayons, Gibson and Martin guitars, Hillerich & Bradsby (Louisville Slugger wooden bats), Litter Tikes and K’nex toys, Sharpie markers, Steinway pianos, and Wilson sporting goods (NFL footballs).

Crayola crayons

Crayola crayons

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