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Manufacturing & The Economy

MIT Study Explores How to Expand U.S. Manufacturing

Issued by a special MIT commission on innovation, the Production in the Innovation Economy (PIE) report follows two years of in-depth research on hundreds of firms across various industrial sectors, ranging in size from high-tech startups to small “Main Street” manufacturers and multinational corporations. While there are a variety of reasons why the nation should seek to retain its own manufacturing base, from defense capacities to job creation, the report aims to highlight the larger potential that manufacturing holds for innovation-based economic growth in the United States.

“It has been suggested by previous reports that sustaining the strength of U.S. manufacturing is essential to America’s future; a strong advanced-manufacturing base is crucial to national security, and it represents a key source of good-paying jobs,” MIT President L. Rafael Reif says. “But as the PIE report makes clear, local production is very important to sustaining a vibrant innovation ecosystem in a region. Thus, we must also take steps now to regain U.S. manufacturing momentum if we want to sustain the nation’s signature economic advantage: innovation.”

Among other conclusions, the report emphasizes that manufacturing should not be regarded as a small group of traditional, shrinking industries. Instead, manufacturing is a diverse, evolving group of industries in which new products and knowledge frequently emerge from firms of all sizes throughout the country. 

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