NEW YORK—A survey by product sourcing specialist Thomas shows that 61 percent of Americans prefer products made in America. The results are included in the organization's “Manufacturing Perception Report,” which examines Americans’ views about the manufacturing industry. 

While a majority of respondents reported they were very or somewhat familiar with the manufacturing industry (76 percent), the survey results reveal Americans are largely unaware of the robust state of the manufacturing sector.

“It was surprising to see that half of the respondents feel that the current state of the manufacturing industry is stable but weak or in decline," notes Tony Uphoff, president and CEO of Thomas. "In fact, the opposite holds true: The state of manufacturing is greater than ever—a trend we can expect to continue with innovation, a strong economy and increased national awareness,”

Among the survey’s findings, Baby boomers (52 percent) and Gen X (50 percent) feel the quality of U.S. products are superior, whereas millennials (47) and Generation Z (43) think the quality of products are typically the same quality. However, overall there is a strong affinity for American made products--61 percent of all respondents prefer products made in America.

When asked about which industries automation will have the biggest impact on, manufacturing took the lead (34 percent) followed by transportation (15), retail (11) and fast food (10). When asked about the biggest problem facing the manufacturing sector, over one-third of respondents replied robotics and automation.

Two-thirds of respondents say they are very likely/somewhat likely to encourage someone in the workforce to pursue a career in manufacturing. In addition, half of respondents think of the manufacturing industry as high-tech.

Also, 51 percent of respondents say the manufacturing sector is very important to national security. A combined total of 87 percent of respondents think the manufacturing sector is at least of somewhat importance to national security.

“Manufacturing has been the backbone of the American economy since the 1800s,” adds Uphoff. “We are experiencing a renaissance right now that has a lot of promise for job growth and stability for years to come.”

The study was conducted online using Survey Monkey. Over a thousand participants were polled, spanning across the United States. Participants were all over the age of 18 and represented a broad range in income, geographic location and gender.