General Purpose Machinery in the U.S.

An Expert's View about General Purpose Machinery in the United States

Last updated: 15 Mar 2011

General purpose and miscellaneous machinery (NAICS code 333999) is an important sector of the American manufacturing industry and is classified as a distinct subcategory of machinery production. In 2007, the general purpose machinery industry employed approximately 273,000 workers in total, with over 50,000 employees involved in the production and assembly of the machines themselves. The industry’s revenue for 2007 was roughly $12.2 billion, an increase of nearly a billion dollars over the previous year’s revenue of $11.26 billion. Gross profit, however, showed a slight decline from 28.71 percent of revenue in 2006 to 27.63 percent in 2007.


As a manufacturing category, miscellaneous general purpose machinery encompasses a broad range of products and components.  In the U.S., this classification includes items as varied as baling machines, industrial bellows, hydraulic and pneumatic jacks, gate and bridge lifting equipment, sprinkler systems, sieves, gas generating devices, as well as many others.  It is also important to note that general purpose machinery excludes metalworking equipment; engines; ventilation, air-conditioning, and heating units; turbines; powered hand-tools; and welding and soldering equipment.


The trading values for U.S.-produced miscellaneous general purpose machinery indicate a robust domestic and international market for these goods. In 2006, the total import-export value for general purpose machine products totaled nearly $24.36 billion. Of the major trading countries receiving American imports or selling exports to the U.S., Canada accounted for 17.09 percent of the total, Japan for 12.34 percent, Germany for 9.39 percent, China for 7.97 percent, and Mexico for 7.58 percent. In total, these countries represented more than $13.2 billion of general purpose machinery trade.


In 2007, the U.S. import value amounted to $12.6 billion, with machinery purchased from 130 countries. In the same year, export value reached $14 billion, with products shipped to 205 countries. The total domestic demand for products from this industry was approximately $10.7 billion in 2007, up from $7.74 billion in 2006.

Posted: 10 November 2010, last updated 15 March 2011

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