The Importance of U.S. Manufacturing
21. Manufacturing Pays Higher Average Compensation
Today’s manufacturing employees earn higher wages and receive more generous benefits than other
working Americans. In the second quarter of 2013, manufacturing employers paid $33.84 per hour in
wages and benefits, while all employers in the economy paid $31.00 per hour, meaning that there is a
9.2 percent premium for working in manufacturing.
Most of the difference in compensation is due to the fact that manufacturers provide a higher level of
benefits for workers than do other industries, including for paid leave, supplemental pay, and insurance.
Although manufacturers are making workers more responsible for their own healthcare costs (as seen
in other industries), employer-provided healthcare payments continue to grow faster than wages and
salaries. Healthcare contributions by manufacturing employers increased 45 percent from 9 years ago
but only had a 25 percent gain in wage and salary costs per hour over the same time period. Employer-
provided healthcare imposes a significant disadvantage to manufacturing industries that have to
compete internationally with countries where healthcare is paid for by general tax revenues.
To Employment and Compensation