If you take a moment to look around your home, office, nearby playground or restaurant, you'll notice that nearly everything you see is manufactured. And, most likely, the companies that made these ‘everythings’—or their components—are small.

However, just because they don’t stand out, doesn’t mean they don’t have big impact.


Small companies, defined as those with fewer than 500 employees, make up 99 percent of all manufacturers in the United States. Collectively, they are the source of more than 8.2 million manufacturing jobs (about 75 percent of all manufacturing employment). They craft the millions of products that make our lives safer, more efficient, and more enjoyable.

It is for these small manufacturers that the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology includes the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) and why its nationwide network of MEP centers exists.

Real results 

"Small companies  make up 99 percent of all manufacturers in the United States. "

Places like Detroit Tool & Engineering in Lebanon, Mo.; Bollman Hats in Adamstown, Penn.; Louroe Electronics in Van Nuys, Calif.; Acadia Windows and Doors in Baltimore, Md.; and JCC Outdoor Products in Wilmington, N.C., are just a few of the many companies we support that have an outsized economic impact on their communities.

Strong small companies contribute to local economies and bring benefits such as better roads, hospitals, good public education, and a wealth of career opportunities.

When you add up all of the small manufacturers in towns and cities across America—over 296,000 businesses—and tally their contributions, they add up to a tremendous positive impact on our country’s economy.

Manufacturer in your community

Small manufacturers offer big employment opportunities. Most offer their workers the chance to cross-train and move into different positions. This practice promotes loyalty and helps keep the average manufacturing employee at their company for about six years, compared with four years for other industries. With an average annual salary of $77,000, retirement contributions, and the opportunity to use your head and hands to make something tangible, manufacturers provide a great place to work. And there are currently hundreds of thousands of vacant positions across the country. A projected 2 million positions will be unfilled by 2025.

Manufacturing is innovative and competitive and helps make this country strong. Manufacturing is opportunity and it is everywhere. To see for yourself, connect with a small manufacturer in your local community by going to an event on Manufacturing Day (#MFGDay15) this October 2nd. Get to know the people behind the products you use and see how they make them. You may even be inspired to become a maker or join a small manufacturer.