Accurately determining how much of our economy's total manufacturing production is American-made can be a daunting task. However, data from the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) can help shed light on what percentage of the manufacturing sector's gross output is considered domestic. This report works through several estimates of how to measure the domestic content of the U.S. gross output of manufactured goods, starting from the most basic estimates and working up to the more complex estimate, domestic content.
Gross output is defined as the value of intermediate goods and services used in production plus the industry's value added. The value of domestic content, or what is "made in America," excludes from gross output the value of all foreign-sourced inputs used throughout the supply chains of U.S. manufacturers. Our analysis reveals that in 2015:
- The value of the gross output produced by U.S. manufacturers was $5.7 trillion, with 82 percent of that value ($4.7 trillion) consisting of domestic content. The manufacturing sector's value added, which by definition is domestic, accounted for $2.0 trillion of this gross output, while the value of the domestic content of intermediate inputs used by manufacturers accounted for an additional $2.6 trillion.1 The balance of the $5.7 trillion is accounted for by imported inputs.
- The highest dollar values of the domestic content of gross output in manufacturing were in the food and beverage and tobacco, chemical, and motor vehicles, bodies and trailers, and parts industries.
- The distinction between the U.S. content of what we produce and consume is stark. Only 53 percent of the total U.S. final demand for manufactured goods, a subset of total output consisting of personal consumption, business investment and government purchases, was domestically-produced. This figure takes into account both the purchases of imported final goods and imported intermediate inputs in U.S.-produced goods.
- 1 Values do not add to $4.7 trillion due to rounding.