U.S. Manufacturing Competitiveness Rising, Set to Take No. 1…

U.S. Manufacturing Competitiveness Rising, Set to Take No. 1…

Jul 18, 2016

“U.S. Manufacturing Competitiveness Rising, Set to Take No. 1 Spot from China by 2020”

By Michelle Drew Rodriquez, Manufacturing Leader, Center for Industry Insights at Deliotte

In a study I recently coauthored and conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, executives indicated the United States is expected to be the most competitive manufacturing nation, moving China into the number two position by 2020. The study – 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index – by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (Deloitte Global) and the Council on Competitiveness (Council) – follows earlier studies we released in 2010 and 2013. The findings are based on an in-depth analysis of survey responses from more than 500 chief executive officers and senior leaders at manufacturing companies around the world, ranking nations in terms of current and future manufacturing competitiveness as well as the global drivers at the heart of manufacturing competitiveness.

A number of interesting findings arose this year. For instance, the 2016 study finds the United States is expected to be the most competitive manufacturing nation by 2020, and consistent with prior reports, talent is identified as the number one driver of manufacturing competitiveness. To take a look at the many aspects of the study, and slice and dice the data through interactive drill-downs of rankings and drivers, be sure tovisit the GMCI Interactive Website.

The following summarizes key findings related to country level competitiveness and key drivers of manufacturing competitiveness:


  • The United States is projected to take number one spot by end of decadeimproving its ranking from 4th in 2010 to 2nd in this year’s study, and is expected to reach No.1 by 2020. As the U.S. invests heavily in talent and technology, it ranks highest as an advanced manufacturing economy.
  • The “Mighty Five” (MITI-V) is starting to show face as manufacturing power group. Made up of the five-Asia Pacific nations of Malaysia, India, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, the MITI-V or “Mighty Five” could represent a “New China” and enter the top 15 rankings of global manufacturing competitiveness over the next five years.
  • The study also indicates BRIC crumbles as member nations’ individual ratings shuffle. Among the BRIC countries, only China is viewed as a top manufacturing nation in 2016. The other three – Brazil, Russia and India – have seen continuous declines in the study’s rankings over the past six years, despite aspirations that they may emerge as manufacturing goliaths.
  • North America and Asia Pacific become regional clusters of strength and are expected to dominate the competitive landscape in the next four years: All three North American countries (U.S, Canada and Mexico) in today’s top 10 remain there in the 2020 outlook; five Asia Pacific nations (China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and India) factor into the study’s top 10 in 2020.
  • European countries feel pressured to remain competitive on global scale. They are lagging behind as they work through sluggish economic recovery efforts and look to their anchors, Germany and the United Kingdom, to pull them ahead.


  • Manufacturing executives once again cited talent as the most important driver of a country’s ability to compete on the global stage. Over the past three GMCI studies, CEOs consistently ranked ‘Talent’ as the most important driver of global manufacturing competitiveness. Similar to 2010 and 2013, it demonstrates the strong influence a highly skilled workforce can have on a nation’s overall competitiveness.
  • Cost competitiveness (number two), productivity (number three), and supplier network (number four) are also key: In an era of sluggish economic growth, containing costs and increasing productivity to boost profits remains critical for manufacturers, alongside building a strong network and ecosystem of suppliers.
  • The impact of public policy is a key driver of competitiveness too, and executives throughout the United States, Europe, and China indicated their respective nations have a number of more favorable policies around key elements of manufacturing competitiveness than even three years ago.

To get a more in-depth look of the findings, be sure to visit www.deloitte.com/us/global-competitiveness where you can drill down into the findings via an interactive dashboardand download the full report and highlights.


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