Does ‘Made in the USA’ Make a Difference?

For many of us growing up, our parents and grandparents tried to instill in us the importance of “buying American-made” products. Whether it was loyalty to Ford cars or Levi’s Jeans, the lesson from these conversations was that products made in the United States were better in quality and brought about a superior economic benefit.

What goes into a label?

In general, a label lets you know important information about a product. You can look on a shirt label to know what material it is made from, how to wash it, and where it was manufactured. Many companies have made great strides to create and build their products here in the United States so as to be able to label their goods as “Made in the USA”. To be able to attach this tag to a product it must meet FTC standards, which state that all or virtually all parts, processing and assembly must happen in the US.

Some companies have been able to skirt this higher standard by having their items listed as “assembled in the U.S.” By no means are you getting an inferior product. However, not all countries have the same regulations and guidelines for manufacturing.

If a product has a label that says “Made in the USA”, you are supporting American workers and American manufacturing from start to finish.

Why are American-made products more expensive?

Simply put, American made products are more expensive because they cost more to manufacture. It starts with the FTC standards adhered to by employers. Because equipment, tools and workspaces cannot be of subpar or earn marginal ratings, the cost of running the business goes up. In addition, fixed overhead costs like rent are also much higher here than in other countries. Many overseas manufacturers can cut corners with methods like buying faulty or defective equipment to keep equipment costs down.

Compared to other countries, particularly those known as manufacturing nations, the United States has higher minimum wages and work ages. To pay those employees means operating costs are higher, which in turn means the cost of the product must be able to cover this and all other working costs.

It is worth noting, this wage gap has shrunk in recent years, with many other countries trying to provide better earnings for their workers. If you also factor in the rising costs of land, electricity/energy and raw materials, there are instances where manufacturing in the United States can cost less than in some parts of Asia.

Although the U.S. has many great resources and raw materials, there are some basic commodities not found within our borders which must be purchased from other countries. These supplies can come with a premium price tag, which in turn drives the production costs above those of other countries that produce the same or similar products.

Does it make a difference to buy American?

As stated above, the rising costs associated with manufacturing around the world are on the rise. Some previously offshore manufacturers are now slowly trickling back into the United States due to favorable tax subsidies and incentives. They are incentivized to stay when the labor force is ready for well-paying positions. This is helping to solidify a future for workers.

Many companies are turning to the U.S. for other areas of interest, such as R&D. Innovation and entrepreneurial spirit have always been an “it factor” for United States companies.

Most of us may not fully realize that the products and services we so abundantly enjoy here usually came from a dream or ambition that someone had. By buying American, you are helping to keep that dream alive and frequently help to generate further innovations and inventions. The purchase of an American made product contributes to the economy in several ways, by bolstering the bottom line of the company which employs Americans, putting your dollars back into the United States, and pushing innovation forward. The heart of the American workforce is its workers. When we support the companies that are making sure the “Made in the USA” label means something, we are investing in our future.