A Model for American Economic Growth

Friday, Jun 24, 2011, 6:25pm

by Semiconductor Industry Association


his 2011

State of the Union address, President Obama said, “To help businesses

sell more products abroad, we set a goal of doubling our exports by 2014 -—

because the more we export, the more jobs we create here at home.”


just today, when President Obama launched his Advanced Manufacturing

Partnership, he said, “If we want a robust, growing economy, we need a robust,

growing manufacturing sector.”


statements are worth repeating at a time when job creation and economic growth

is top of mind for policy makers in Washington as well as business leaders and

citizens across the country.

I am proud to say that the SIA represents the nation’s

number one exporting industry, and the semiconductor industry is leading our

nation’s economic recovery. In the five year period from 2005-2009 total

semiconductor exports averaged $48 billion, highest of all exports; and were

$38 billion during the 2009 downturn, second only to petroleum refinery


Considering the industry’s high export numbers there is

still a common misconception that the United States doesn’t make any thing

anymore. That we’ve moved completed away from a manufacturing society in favor

of a knowledge economy. While it is true that the advent of the

microelectronics age fueled by semiconductor innovations has transformed

America into an innovation economy, we still manufacture perhaps the most

advanced durable good known to man—the semiconductor—right here in America.

There are semiconductor companies across the nation that employ

nearly 200,000 highly-skilled workers in the support, design and production of semiconductors.

From Maine to Oregon and almost 20 other states in between the semiconductor

industry is a manufacturing industry at heart. To see the incredibly detailed

and sophisticated semiconductor manufacturing process, check out this video.

What is more compelling is that over the past decade U.S.

share of the market has remained around 50% and 82% of industry sales were

outside the U.S. which accounted for $144 billion in sales in 2010.


combination of a global, high-export industry based largely in the United

States and underpinning the $1.1 trillion technology industry is a prime

example of the types of industries that policymakers should point to as

examples of the way forward. This industry more than any other straddles both

the innovation age where knowledge workers serve as the primary engine while

also embracing the best aspects of America’s manufacturing roots. The

semiconductor industry is proof that America and its workers can have both;

that our society can thrive in a global economy. High-paying jobs, significant

annual revenues and increasing exports make the semiconductor industry a model

for American growth.