Robotic armAccording to the U.S. Department of Commerce, advanced manufacturing continues to be a mainstay of the United States' economic productivity.  In 2009, it's contribution to the GDP was nearly $1.6 trillion, or 11.2% of the total U.S. GDP.  Manufacturing in the United States also provided the bulk of exports with $1.1 trillion of manufactured goods shipped abroad.  This comprised 86% of all U.S. goods exported. In 2010, the manufacturing sector employed 11.5 million workers or about 9% of total employment.
 
U.S. manufacturing has begun to rebound from the “great recession.” Since December 2009, manufacturers have increased their payrolls by about 400,000 workers, with some of these jobs coming from a trend now being called 'onshoring'.  This is when advanced manufacturing has allowed U.S. companies to return operations transplanted to lower-wage nations where a low-wage, low-skill approach could be adopted.  

Advanced manufacturing is evolving as technology evolves, and for the most part it means the use of technology to manufacture products which may be quite ordinary.  However, increasingly, advanced manufacturing is a requirement of advanced materials and products. 

One definition of advanced manufacturing is that it is a family of activities that depends on the use and coordination of information, automation, computation, software, sensing, and networking.  It can make use of cutting-edge materials and emerging capabilities from the physical and biological sciences such as nanotechnology, chemistry, and biotechnology.  As such, this then involves both new ways to manufacture existing products or the manufacture of new products with new advanced technologies.

Read more about how to be employed in advanced manufacturing and the career opportunities it presents.