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For many, the Fourth of July is all about the festivities and fireworks. Here at Atmel, it’s also a day when we pay tribute to one of the quintessential cornerstones of the nation’s economic engine – manufacturing.
As in other parts of the country, businesses related to manufacturing have always played an important role in Silicon Valley. Throughout most of the 20th century, it was the American manufacturing industry that helped create the foundation for the middle class. It was the engine responsible for propelling the US to global economic prominence, while setting the standard for quality; be it for cars, television sets, or semiconductors.
As manufacturing boomed, industrialization came to change the very fabric of American life, symbiotically.
Today, the semiconductor industry directly employs a quarter of a million people in the U.S. and supports more than one million additional American jobs. In 2012, U.S. semiconductor companies generated $146 billion in sales – helping to make the global trillion dollar electronics industry possible. To be sure, U.S. semiconductor companies currently represent over half the worldwide market and are responsible for one of America’s largest exports.
Even in troubled economic times, the U.S. has managed to add approximately 520,000 manufacturing jobs since January 2010 and supports 17.2 million manufacturing jobs as a whole, with post-recession American manufacturing outpacing other nations. Nearly 12 million (about 1 in 10) people in the U.S. are employed directly in manufacturing.
In 2012, U.S. manufacturing contributed to $1.87 trillion to the economy, up from $1.73 in year prior and every $1 of manufacturing activity returns $1.48 to the U.S. economy. In terms of cost savings, U.S. factories’ access to cheap energy equates to cheaper costs than overseas oil and pricey shipping.
Semiconductors – the little microchips controlling all modern electronics – are part and parcel of the American manufacturing landscape. As the building blocks of technology, they’re an integral part of America’s economic strength, national security and global competitiveness. Even more importantly, they’re used to develop the technologies helping us build a better future.
TIME Magazine recently wrote that new “Made in America” economics is centered largely around cutting-edge technologies, like 3D-printing and robotics, two industries near and dear to Atmel’s heart and that of the Maker Movement we support.
Last December, President Obama made his case for a reinvigorated manufacturing base, a vision that is not unachievable. According to Moody’s Economy.com, if every American spent an extra $3.33 on U.S. made goods, it would create nearly 10,000 new American jobs.
Although Atmel is an international corporation, we’re awfully proud to be headquartered in Silicon Valley, just as we are to operate a major fab in Colorado Springs.