The U.S. metalworking industry is a highly productive segment of the economy, featuring a skilled workforce and a reliance on the latest technologies. The industry is composed of two main subsectors: industrial tooling companies that manufacture tooling, dies, and molds, and machine tooling companies that manufacture metalworking machinery. Major metalworking firms have grown increasingly competitive on the global market, while smaller companies have shown a trend toward consolidation and partnerships.
The American domestic market for metalworking machine tools is the third largest in the world, surpassed only by Japan and China. The total value of U.S. machine tool shipments was approximately $5.3 billion in 2006, with $3.8 billion in exports. The same year, shipments in the metalworking tooling sector were valued at $12.6 billion with $1.2 billion in exports. American die and mold manufacturing firms supply roughly 80 percent of the domestic demand for tooling products.
The metalworking machinery sector consists of companies that produce metal cutting and forming tools, industrial molds, rolling mill machines, wire drawing and fabricating machines, assembly, conversion, and straightening equipment, and a range of other metal fabrication supplies. In 2008, the industry had a total revenue of approximately $28.98 billion with an industry gross product valued at $18.66 billion. This included exports worth $6.6 billion and imports worth $13.65 billion.
After a decrease of roughly 3.9 percent in metalworking revenue growth from 2007 to 2008, many U.S. metalworking companies are restructuring to increase capital and improve access to markets. In addition, some states offer assistance in building strategic partnerships to gain new customers, as well as incentive programs to encourage metalworking business growth.