The Hustle

Construction spending on US manufacturing cements all-time highs

Construction spending on US manufacturing by year

Olivia Heller

Talk about nailing your numbers.

Last year, the US posted record spending on construction related to manufacturing — which you can think of as investments made toward building the stuff that builds your stuff.

After growing ~4% annually for decades, America’s production capacity has been seemingly stuck in the mud ever since China entered the World Trade Organization in 2001.

Spending, however, has continued to rise, and the US may finally be breaking ground on building that capacity back up: In 2022, capacity grew at its highest level since 2015, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Behind the rise?

Cars and chips — not the potato variety, as much as we’d like that to be the case.

Partly influenced by the rethinking of supply chains in the aftermath of pandemic struggles, the CHIPS and Science Act is now putting billions of dollars toward semiconductor manufacturing capacity, and the Inflation Reduction Act is putting billions more into EV battery production.

Whether America can actually find enough people to get these factories up and running is another question. The National Association of Manufacturers says its industry — which represents ~10% of the US workforce, or ~13m people — is still short 800k workers.

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