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Small Manufacturers are Creating Good American Jobs

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Small Manufacturers are Creating Good American Jobs

By Karen Mills, Former SBA Administrator
Published: June 16, 2011 Updated: June 16, 2011

Supporting growth and innovation in manufacturing is critical to helping America out-compete the rest of the world and create 21st-century jobs.

On Monday, I was at DuPont in North Carolina holding a roundtable with manufacturers as part of the President’s meeting with the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. I talked to a small business that designed a safer tool for doctors to use in surgery, and they hope to start hiring and manufacturing soon.  In addition, I’ve talked to many more small manufacturers in recent weeks, from an industrial cabinet maker in El Paso to a “green” roof-shingle company in Buffalo. Their common thread is that they’re all making plans to grow and hire.

SBA Administrator Karen Mills talking with small manufacturers in North Carolina.  Photo courtesy of DuPont.

They’re not alone.

Since 2010, nearly 250,000 manufacturing jobs have been added in the U.S., helping reverse a decade-long trend when millions were lost. 

At the SBA, we put important tools directly in the hands of small manufacturers, including more than $2 billion in financing to them last year alone.   Through the Small Business Jobs Act, we also raised the SBA loan limit to small manufacturers to up to $5.5 million (the highest SBA loan limit ever) to help them buy a new warehouse or a big piece of equipment, and put Americans back to work.

What I’m hearing from small manufacturers is that they’re working harder than ever to develop new products and become more nimble.  In fact, some are bringing business back to the U.S. that had previously been overseas.

“Made in America” is hot.  New data shows that the trade deficit has shrunk as U.S. exports reached record levels of $175 billion in April.  Exports now support about 25 percent of U.S. manufacturing jobs.  We need to capitalize on these positive trends by giving small manufacturers even more tools, such as our new Export Business Planner.

In addition to small exporters, we’re also focused on manufacturers that are part of supply chains. 

Recently, Jeff Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, and I went to Dayton to visit the small supplier that makes labels for products like Tide.  A recent study shows that when a small supplier starts working with a larger company, the small supplier is able to create about 150 percent more jobs in just a few years.  That’s data we can’t ignore, and it’s a big reason that we’re working together to develop recommendations to support these job generators.

Another area that shows great potential is strengthening the manufacturing workforce.  Last week, the President announced a major new effort with Skills for America’s Future and the nonprofit arm of the National Association of Manufacturers.  Right now, there are many job openings in “precision” and highly-skilled manufacturing, but too few Americans who are trained to fill those jobs.  That’s why manufacturers and community colleges will be working to create a credentialing system to put 500,000 students on a clear track to a good, 21st century manufacturing job when they graduate. 

Overall, U.S. manufacturers are a major reason that our country has experienced 15 straight months of private sector job creation and seven straight quarters of growth.  Let’s build on the success of America’s manufacturers, and let’s continue to make sure they have the tools they need to build their businesses and create good jobs.

Ed. note: Photo courtesy of DuPont

About the Author:

Karen Mills

Former SBA Administrator

Karen Gordon Mills is the Former Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA helps both Main Street and high-growth small businesses get access to capital, counseling, federal contracts, disaster assistance and more.


I'm so pleased to be seeing the wonderful efforts being made by small businesses across the US, this is fantastic news.
These are good figures that must continue into the coming years to help economic growth in the US economy. US manufacturing has been in decline so it is very welcome news to see small manufacturers picking up the slack.
It would be great to see american jobs return to america. We have outsourced all of our basic entry level work to other countries. This has made for a very competitive marketplace for future generations. Our children are not able to get necessary funds to support themselves and further their education to high paying positions.
It is not always possible to set up a big business due to several reasons.In this case small business works for you.
Great examples! We need to focus on what we do best: innovation. Other countries have good manufacturing capabilities and are most of the time cheaper but innovation and engineering is where we excel and where we need to focus our energy.
In small to medium sized towns, small businesses are a great way to regenerate the necessary lifeblood into the struggling economy. Bring more jobs and publicity to your town. Visit today for tips on starting and growing your own small business.
Good to hear small manufacturing is starting to do well in the USA. Weneed to start pushing manufacturing in England!
Even though it's difficult because you don't always know where a product was made, I always try to opt for products made in the US. It's not until you consciously start looking for these US made products that you realize how many of them aren't actually made in the US. Hair Color Coupons
Nice and great article. I like this post. Thanks for the post. This article is also informative. Boston Car Service
Small Business have always prone as a backbone to enlarge the country growth. it is already mention that in 2010, 250,000 manufacturing jobs have been added in the U.S.A. It's Really great. -


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