As part of a weeklong celebration of this Friday’s Manufacturing Day, FMA hosted a panel discussion Tuesday on the role making things plays in the U.S. economy.

The roundtable took place at the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International’s Rockford, Illinois, headquarters. Participating in the program, titled “How Manufacturing Drives the Economy,” were Stephen Gold, president and CEO of the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation; Scott Mayer, chairman and CEO of QPS Employment Group; Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., managing partner at Armada Corporate Intelligence and an FMA economic analyst; and Kenneth Voytek, chief economist for the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program.

“Manufacturing is a much more significant factor in our economy than official government statistics show, as those numbers only measure the value of the upstream supply chain and only include goods sold to ‘final demand’,” Gold said.

“When you include the downstream sales chain, the impact is magnified and multiplied,” he said.

Kuehl pointed out that American manufacturing is still among the most envied in the world.

“The manufacturing sector is the dominant player in U.S. exports, particularly with heavy machinery and other capital goods,” he said. “And, the U.S. is more export dependent than people realize; it accounts for 14 percent of (gross domestic product), almost matching export-driven Japan at its 14.7 percent of GDP. What most people don’t recognize is that the U.S. accounts for 30 percent of all global manufacturing by value. China accounts for only 10 percent.”