As the holidays approach, many Americans are busy crossing names off their shopping lists. And although you can’t please everyone with the gifts you select, you can help boost the economy by purchasing items that were manufactured in the U.S.
Since 2001, approximately four million manufacturing jobs in the U.S. have been lost due to outsourcing and plant closures, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Going back to 1981, that figure jumps to seven million.
“Every time you buy something, your dollars are a vote for the country where that item was manufactured,” says Todd Lipscomb, author of Re-Made in the USA: How we can Restore Jobs, Retool Manufacturing and Compete with the World. “You can either vote for the U.S., or you can vote for China or some other nation. And right now, the American economy and American workers need your votes.”
This year, FOX Business is spotlighting American-made goods for everyone on your gift list. From items under $50 for grandpa, to baby toys under $10, you can find it all made in the U.S. Most items highlighted are manufactured by small businesses; in the last 17 years, small businesses have generated 65% of all new jobs in the U.S., according to the Small Business Administration. Lipscomb says buying American most always means supporting our nation’s small businesses.
“The thing I love about buying American from a small business owner is that there’s accountability,” says Lipscomb. “If you have a problem with a pair of pants made in China, you can call and you probably won’t get past the operator. If you have a problem with a pair of Texas Jeans, you can call them up and talk to their owner.”
And it seems more Americans are interested in buying U.S.-made goods than ever before. An October 2010 poll by Harris Interactive reflected that 61% of Americans are more likely to purchase an item when advertised as “Made in America.” A 2009 BIG Research poll showed that 57% of Americans make a conscious effort to buy domestic goods. However, 65% expressed that it’s more difficult than ever to find American-made products in stores.
For many parents, finding American-made toys is not only a challenge—it’s a requirement. Since 2008, there have been 35 recalls on foreign-made toys contaminated with lead, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
“If someone in America puts a chemical in a toy or a product they can go to jail, but overseas it’s hard to get someone held accountable, or find out where the contamination is coming from,” says Lipscomb. “From a parent’s perspective, it makes sense to spend a bit more to ensure you’re getting a safer toy for your child.”
But regardless who you’re buying for this holiday season, Lipscomb says buying an American made product is like buying a present for the nation.
“You’re doing something real for the economy. Buy American-made goods, helps create American jobs. It really is that simple.”