Does Buying America-Made Products Make a Difference? - COMUNITYmade


Does Buying America-Made Products Make a Difference?

Does Buying America-Made Products Make a Difference?

by Shannon Scott June 07, 2022

A quick check on product tags in stores will reveal the same three words: "Made in China," "Made in Mexico," or "Made in Taiwan." It's hard to come by "Made in the USA." But it wasn't always this way. About three decades ago, most products on the shelves were American-made. However, most companies moved their operations – and the jobs they offered – to countries like Mexico and China, where labor is cheap.

A couple of months ago, I set out to find some new cookware to up my culinary game. Like most buyers, I browsed through different options online and narrowed my list to four manufacturers based on reviews from thought leaders and previous buyers. Then, I realized that one cookware company makes all its carbon steel cookware at their foundry in South Pittsburgh, Tennessee. I made my choice; of course, I'd 'buy-American.'

That felt good. I even told a few friends who said they'd choose "Made in America" every time. So that got me thinking about the 'buying American' bias and whether our actions made any difference.

As it turns out, they do.

In a recent survey on U.S. manufacturing by Thomas, 62% of respondents preferred to buy U.S.-made products, while 55% thought the quality of U.S.-made products is superior to that of products made in Central America and Asia.

In another survey by Consumer Reports, 78% of Americans would rather buy a U.S. product when given a choice between a product made in the U.S. and an imported one. Over 80% of respondents cited "keeping American manufacturing strong" and "maintaining American jobs" as the main reasons for buying American, and 60% cited cheap labor costs and child workers in other countries, or that U.S.-made products were of high quality.

People are willing to pay more for U.S.-made products. In fact, over 60% of participants in the Consumer Report survey said they'd buy American appliances and clothes even if these would cost 10% more than identical ones made abroad.

But it is not just an American thing.

Consumers around the globe also prefer U.S.-made products. In the same study, over 60% of Chinese respondents said they'd purchase a U.S.-made version over the Chinese one even if it cost more.

So, this leads us to our question, does buying American-made products make a difference?

A quick check on product tags in stores will reveal the same three words: "Made in China," "Made in Mexico," or "Made in Taiwan." It's hard to come by "Made in the USA." But it wasn't always this way. About three decades ago, most products on the shelves were American-made. However, most companies moved their operations – and the jobs they offered – to countries like Mexico and China, where labor is cheap.

But this trend is declining, as more companies are moving back to the United States. Since 2010, more than 300 companies have moved their factories back to America, according to Reshoring Initiative, a non-profit that strives to bring manufacturing back to America. This shift has created about 240,000 new jobs and an increase in the number of American-made labels on the shelves.


How buying American-made

products makes a difference

The economy has become increasingly global. It is harder to find products made in the United States. This is often because it can be slightly cheaper to produce items in countries where more factories are still operating or wages are lower. But despite the strong international trade, U.S. products are still on the shelves, and more underway. Buying products made in the United States not only support the economy but also helps the environment. Let's dive in deeper.

Supporting America

Buying American-made is supporting American independence. Manufactures and resources are moving to countries not friendly to democracy and the United States. Avoiding imported products in favor of those made in the United States ensures it doesn't find its access to essential goods affected by trade wars and political conflict.

Save or create job

When people buy products made in the United States, they help create or save jobs in the country. Data from EPI's 'Manufacturing Footprint and the Importance of U.S. Manufacturing Jobs' report reveals that manufacturing employment was stable for 30 years leading to 1998. Since that year, it has been a downward trend with traditional manufacturing states taking the most hit.

The United States lost 5.7 million manufacturing jobs between 1998 and 2013 due to trade deficits with Mexico, China, and other low-wage countries. But the weak recovery from the Great Inflation since 2009 also contributed significantly. Buying America prevents inflation and helps fellow countrymen to earn a living.

Human Rights

Most foreign countries that are known to produce cheap goods don't have strict laws to protect workers' rights. A 2018 ITUC Global Rights Index revealed that countries like China, Brazil, and Indonesia had laws that denied workers freedom of association and speech. China also had many cases of overworking employees. A 2006 report revealed child labor in a Bangladesh factory that manufactured clothing sold by JCPenney and Wal-Mart. Buying products made in America means not contributing to slavery, child labor, hazardous working conditions, and trafficking.

Better for the environment

Buying local translates to a lower carbon footprint. A product made in downtown LA doesn't have to travel thousands of miles to get to the consumer in Boston or Dallas and so on. This means less fossil fuel being burned for shipping and less carbon footprint on the item. Besides, U.S. manufacturers and companies are held to higher state and federal environmental regulations. Buying American means helping keep the world a little cleaner for future generations.

Safe products

Most counties that produce "cheaper" goods have much lower product safety standards than those held in the U.S. manufacturing sector. In 2007, for instance, China manufactured all the 24 kinds of toys that were recalled for safety reasons in the US, including the famous Thomas & Friends wooden trains. These toys were laced with lead paint, which are potentially harmful to children’s brain cells. Buying an American comes with the peace of mind of knowing that the products adhere to all safety standards.

A stronger economy

In addition to supporting workers, buying American helps build a strong economy. When manufacturers in the Unites States thrive, they contract other firms to help advance their agenda – whether it's constructing new offices or supplying new products or marketing solutions and so on. Besides, manufacturing jobs lower the unemployment rates and expand the tax base to pay for social security and Medicare benefits.

A Center of Automotive Research estimates that every new job in car manufacturing supports nine other jobs, from parts makers to restaurant workers and so on. The answer to the United State's economic problem is to buy American. This will, in turn, support a higher tax base, reduce the trade deficit, and achieve greater economic growth.


Shannon Scott
Shannon Scott


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Blog

Made in the USA: The Importance of Supporting American Shoemakers
Made in the USA: The Importance of Supporting American Shoemakers

by Sean Scott May 09, 2024

In an era of globalized markets, supporting American jobs is not just a choice; it's a statement of pride, resilience, and commitment to the future of our great nation. One of the best ways to do this is by actively choosing products stamped with the label "Made in the USA." When you buy American, you are not just making a purchase; you're making a difference.

Read More

From Trash to Treasure: Upcycling Materials in Shoe Design
From Trash to Treasure: Upcycling Materials in Shoe Design

by Shannon Scott May 01, 2024

Clothing brands are producing twice the amount of clothes today than they did in 2000. About 15% of raw materials used during production are wasted because of cutouts, and 60% of garments are discarded just a few years after production. On top of that, the energy-intensive production methods, high water and chemical use, and lengthy supply chains intensify the ecological impact of the fashion industry.

Read More

comunitymade interior shot with an artisan talking to two people
Eco-Conscious Footwear: How we Reduce our Carbon Shoeprint

by Shannon Scott April 23, 2024

When we support brands like COMUNITYmade, we are demanding transparency and accountability from the industry. As we embrace mindful consumption and durable shoes, we all can collectively rewrite the narrative of shoe manufacturing. We can leave the invisible footprint of a greener future, one stylish, earth-conscious step at a time.

Read More

Find Your Perfect Size

We want to help make sure that your new shoes have the best fit possible.  

We have created a separate fit for men and women to provide the ultimate foot hugging comfort.  Our sockliner and upper materials will naturally mold to your foot and stretch out after a short period of time, so do allow for this when trying our shoes on initially.


 In general, our shoes are running closer to an everyday shoe fit vs. an athletic shoe fit and can be worn with or without socks - but the socks have to be eye catching for best results.


Any variances from this chart will be noted on each individual product page.