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Is U.S. Manufacturing Dead? Filmmakers Seek to Revitalize ‘Made in America’ Movement

Is U.S. Manufacturing Dead? Filmmakers Seek to Revitalize ‘Made in America’ Movement

In 1979 nearly 20 million Americans were employed in the manufacturing sector. Today, 34 years later, the number of people who produce goods in the nation's factories has fallen 40% to 11.9 million. While many have cited this decades-long downtrend as evidence of the death of domestic manufacturing, the fact is we've actually added over 500,000 jobs to the sector since hitting bottom in 2010.

While still a long way from the peak, it's cause to ask if manufacturing is making a comeback?

Hopefully, say filmmakers Vincent Vittorio and Nathan McGill, who are winding down a 32-day, 32-city tour to promote their new film, American Made Movie.

"Every city we go to people are loving it. They're loving the emotional ride, and they're loving the message," McGill says in the attached video. "It's not just us creating this film. It's about all of us, together, creating and demanding more American-made stuff."

Vittorio agrees, saying the movement appears to be resonating across the country. "It's an issue that every American connects to."

At a time when good jobs are hard to come by, economic growth is slow and our trade deficit is at record levels, people and politicians want to see change — and there are signs it may finally be happening.

Just last week, the ISM Manufacturing purchasing managers index rose to a 13-month high, while weekly unemployment claims slumped to the lowest level in over five years.

"This movie is really a game-changer. It can really make a difference in this country," says Mark Andol, a welding shop operator from Buffalo who opened the Made in America store three years ago after half his business was outsourced overseas. "It's non-political. It shows the relationship between people and what they buy, and [that you can] vote with your dollar and make change with your own dollars."

To be sure, the "Buy Local" phenomenon is popular and growing, as more and more consumers seek to buy products — particularly food — from local businesses. Andol says when given a choice, consumers almost always prefer to "buy American." To meet demand, he has authenticated the source of all 5,000 products in his store, a job that he says is no easy task.

"Every one of our products is documented," he says. "They [the vendors] hate me, but I make sure about the glue, the packaging, everything."

As for the film, it's not only calling attention to what they see as a national opportunity, but it's also a call to action. "We're really trying to grow demand [for American-made goods]," McGill says. "And we based the structure of the film off of good old supply and demand."

While their bus tour ends in Atlanta on August 5, their movie and their mission will continue to roll and, with a little luck, continue to spread.

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