What better way to ring in the New Year than with a commitment to buying American-made products.
2012 was filled with news stories about the importance of buying products made right here on our shores. President Obama made American Manufacturing a focus of his campaign. During the Christmas season "World News with Diane Sawyer" created a "Made in America Christmas" Challenge. According to the show “The average American will spend $700 on holiday gifts and goodies this year, totaling more than $465 billion, the National Retail Federation estimates. If that money was spent entirely on US made products, it would create 4.6 million jobs. But it doesn't even have to be that big. If each of us spent just $64 on American made goods during our holiday shopping, the result would be 200,000 new jobs.”
When you think about it, a small shift in spending and some extra time researching American Made products can have a huge impact on our economy. Not only are we keeping dollars closer to home and reinvesting back into American companies but we are helping to re-balance trade deficits. According to government statistics, manufacturing grew at a fairly respectable pace of 3% and continued to add jobs throughout December. However, last year also had some months of stagnation. With the recent agreements on tax policy, manufacturing companies should be more prone to expand and hire. Given this trend, we should see more companies joining the ranks of American Manufacturers in 2013.
Scores of new websites have launched with a focus on selling USA made and promoting American Manufacturers. One such organization, American Made Matters was formed on July 4th, 2009 with the specific purpose of educating consumers about the impact of buying American made and helping these consumers find resources for their purchases. The group tripled the number of member manufacturing companies this year and grew to over 8,000 fans on Facebook. Each year the organization sponsors a special holiday promotion during the 12 days of Christmas. Their members contribute products to the 12 day give-away featuring US made apparel, toys, luggage, sunglasses, hats, pet products and jewelry. Our sister company, K'NEX Construction toys, was proud to participate in this seasonal event.
Made in America spending is anticipated to gain momentum in 2013 as we witness the impacts of shifting purchases to U.S. made products in 2012. And we must continue to insure we are diligent in our selections. There are many reasons for choosing American Made. The first and most obvious reason is job creation, however purchasing locally-made products also helps the environment, protects human rights and insures better quality products. The U.S. Government has stricter standards than most importing countries.
Here are five tips to follow that can help you find local American Made products throughout the new year.
1) Whenever possible patronize local retailers. Very often these retailers offer products that are made locally if not regionally. They are also better versed on the origin of the products they carry.
2) Check labels. There was a time when “Look for the Union Label” was a major advertising campaign that reinforced the purchase of US-made Apparel. That was in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. This campaign was designed to stem the influx of foreign clothing. Unfortunately, it could not stem that tide. According to the blog titled Clothing Made in USA “In 1965, manufacturing accounted for 53% of the entire economy. The US manufactured 95% of what it needed. Manufacturing has rapidly decreased since the late 1970′s. In 1988, manufacturing has slipped to 39% of the entire economy. And by 2004, manufacturing accounted for only 9% of the economy. Today (2011), the US manufactures only 5% of what it uses and only 2% of its clothing.” So be sure to look at the labels.
3) Become familiar with websites that can help you in your quest. The website, Made in the USA Challenge is a good place to start. The founder of the site, Sarah Mazzone, has gone to great lengths to create a list of quality American made products that include apparel, housewares, personal care, toys and gifts. However, don’t stop there. Just Google “Made in America products” and you will be surprised at the number of on-line resources available.
4) Making home repairs or purchases? Be sure to mention you are interested in using Made in America products. This is not as easy as it seems. An ABC News program hosted by David Muir highlighted the need to support American companies that are manufacturing in our country. A real eye opener, this investigative report, is available on-line.
5) Buy quality, not quantity. While the lure of cheap imported products can be enticing, base your purchase decisions on higher quality products that will last for years to come. You may pay more initially, but you will save money in the long run.
The Rodon Group and our sister company K’NEX have been manufacturing in the U.S. since 1956. We have felt the impact of overseas competition; however we have not wavered from our goal to remain a “Made in America” company. We share this distinction with companies throughout the country. Just need to take a bit more time to find them. When you do, you will feel better about your purchases knowing you are supporting businesses large and small who work every day to provide the quality for which America is known.
Do you have favorite American Made Products that you use? Please share them with us and I will share with our readers. Thanks