98.6% of American Manufacturing Companies Are Small Businesses, Struggling to Hire

Staff Report

Friday, May 24th, 2019

98.6% of American manufacturing companies are small businesses, and 75.3% of those businesses have fewer than 20 employees, according to new data gathered by SCORE, mentors to America's small businesses.

Last year, manufacturing businesses generated 11.6% of the U.S. economic output and employed 8.5% of the U.S. workforce, but 89% of manufacturers report that they cannot fill all job openings.

"Manufacturing businesses drive the U.S. economy," said SCORE CEO Ken Yancey. "They might be factories or bakeries, and they might utilize machine power or hand-make their products, but what they have in common is that the vast majority of manufacturers are small business owners."

What are manufacturing businesses?

Manufacturing businesses create products from raw materials or components, either by machines or by hand. These goods are made in plants, factories, mills and private homes.

Small manufacturing businesses (with fewer than 20 employees) comprise these percentages of total employment for the following products:

22.9% of apparel

18.4% of furniture and related products

16.4% of fabricated metal products

15.2% of wood products

11.5% of beverage and tobacco products

8.6% of machinery

6.3% of food

5.6% of electrical equipment, appliances and components

5.3% of plastics and rubber products

5.1% of computers and electronic products

2.8% of paper

Manufacturing generated 11.6% of U.S. economic output and employed 8.5% of the workforce. Yet, 89% of manufacturers have job openings they cannot fill. Top reasons cited include:

Shifting skill sets due to advancing technologies

Misperceptions of manufacturing jobs

Retirement of baby boomers