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Manufacturing, Principal Products

softwood trees, space vehicles, precision instruments, railroad equipment, world leadership

Ranked by value added by manufacturing, in 1996 the leading categories of U.S. manufactured goods were chemicals, industrial machinery, electronic equipment, processed foods, and transportation equipment. The chemical industry accounted for about 11.1 percent of the overall annual value added by manufacturing. Texas and Louisiana are leaders in chemical manufacturing. The petroleum and natural gas produced and refined in both states are basic raw materials used in manufacturing many chemical products.

Industrial machinery accounted for 10.7 percent of the yearly value added by manufacture. Industrial machinery includes engines, farm equipment, various kinds of construction machinery, computers, and refrigeration equipment. California led all states in the annual value added by industrial machinery, followed by Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan.

Factories in the United States build millions of computers, and the United States occupies second place in the world in the production of electronic components (semiconductors, microprocessors, and computer equipment). Electronic equipment accounted for 10.5 percent of the yearly value added by manufacturing, and it was one of the fastest growing manufacturing sectors during the 1990s; production of electronics and electric equipment increased by 77 percent from 1987 to 1994. High-technology research and production facilities have developed in the Silicon Valley of California, south of San Francisco; the area surrounding Boston; the Research Triangle of Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Durham in North Carolina; and the area around Austin, Texas. In addition, the United States has world leadership in the development and production of computer software. Leading software producers are located in areas around Seattle, Washington; Boston, Massachusetts; and San Francisco, California.

Food processing accounted for about 10.2 percent of the overall annual value added by manufacturing. Food processing is an important industry in several states noted for the production of food crops and livestock, or both. California has a large fruit- and vegetable-processing industry. Meat-packing is important to agriculture in Illinois and dairy processing is a large industry in Wisconsin.

Transportation equipment includes passenger cars, trucks, airplanes, space vehicles, ships and boats, and railroad equipment. This category accounted for 10.1 percent of the yearly value added by manufacturing. Michigan, with its huge automobile industry, is a leading producer of transportation equipment.

The manufacture of fabricated metal and primary metal is concentrated in the nationís industrial core region. Iron ore from the Lake Superior district, plus that imported from Canada and other countries, and Appalachian coal are the basis for a large iron and steel industry. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan are leading states in the value of primary metal output. The fabricated metal industry, which includes the manufacture of cans and other containers, hardware, and metal forgings and stampings, is important in the same states. The primary metals industry of these states provides the basic raw materials, especially steel, that are used in making metal products.

Printing and publishing is a widespread industry, with newspapers published throughout the country. New York, with its book-publishing industry, is the leading state, but California, Illinois, and Pennsylvania also have sizable printing and publishing industries.

The manufacture of paper products is important in several states, particularly those with large timber resources, especially softwood trees used to make most paper. The manufacture of paper and paperboard contributes significantly to the economies of Wisconsin, Alabama, Georgia, Washington, New York, Maine, and Pennsylvania.

Other major U.S. manufactures include textiles, clothing, precision instruments, lumber, furniture, tobacco products, leather goods, and stone, clay, and glass items.

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