I just received an email from my good friend Sylvie Barak, the communities and university program manager over at Atmel. In recent times, Barak has developed a newfound skill for creating infographics. Do you recall the one she created a few weeks ago to celebrate Geek Pride Day?
Well, her latest infographic offering (shown below), was created as part of this year's Independence Day celebrations. It focuses on the fact that American manufacturing is on the rise (click here for a larger version).
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 Americaís 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 Atmelís 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.
Happy July 4th to one and all!
I for one am very inspired by all of this. When Barak says that about 1 in 10 Americans are employed directly in manufacturing, I'm assuming that she's talking about the available workforce of 120 million people, not the total population of roughly 300 million souls. Still and all, one-tenth of the total workforce is a much higher proportion than I would have guessed.
I firmly believe that manufacturing is the mainstay of any economy. It's all well and good making money by such dubious means as buying and selling currencies on the international markets, but I still believe that true wealth is based on people digging raw materials out of the ground, taking those raw materials, and transmogrifying them into something wonderful through manufactuting.
Soapbox mode off. I'll close by echoing Barak's sentiments. May I wish a very happy July 4th to one and all.
@Rich: I have a book on GUI design in my office that covers both web-based and industrial-controller interfaces -- I can;t remember the name off-hand, but I'd say it's a "must read" for anyone who is creating user interfaces. If you remind me on Monday I'll root around and find the title.
This concept (information design) applies to much more than just charts and graphs, and extends to the creation of any human interface. Unfortunately it seems that few interface designers understand or appreciate it, as evidenced by examples like this cringe-worthy headphone amp front panel, or my cable provider's inconsistent on-screen "Delete" function, which, after I press it, sometimes defaults to "Yes" and sometimes "No", depending on what it is I'm trying to delete (WTH??). I can also think of many websites that would have benefited from some understanding of this concept. ;)
@DrFPGA: Consider the classic graphic, by Charles Joseph Minard, showing Napoleon's army in the Russian campaign of 1812.
VERY interesting -- I'd not seen this one before. I remember hearing about some guy writing a book about innovative ways to present information using graphics --- I'd really like to see that book, but I can't remember anything else about it...
Graphics that show a complex concept in a simple way are works of art. Consider the classic graphic, by Charles Joseph Minard, showing Napoleon's army in the Russian campaign of 1812. It shows the location of the army (2 dimensions in space), the date (time), the temperature, and the size of the army all in a simple graphic. Wow!
I have to say that I'm really getting into this "Infographic" concept -- I love the way you can compress so much information into such a small space. Also, it's visually appealing (at least to me) -- I like scanning around the graphic and saying to myself "Oooh, that's interesting," or "Well, I never knew that before!"