A manufacturer is a company that produces a physical product. Apple, General Motors and Sherwin-Williams are examples of manufacturing companies. The manufacturing sector can further be broken down into chemical manufacturers, energy manufacturers, industrial manufacturers, consumer products manufacturers and automotive manufacturers.
The manufacturing sector is different from sectors like financial services companies, software as a service companies and logistics companies. The way that manufacturing businesses operate vary substantially among manufacturing sectors, as does the way they account for revenue and costs. By nature, manufacturing is an inventory intensive business. They are often required to hold large amounts of raw goods, works in progress and finished inventory. The manufacturing sector is also more responsive to economic cycles and tends to be the first impacted and last to recover during a recession.
According to the National Association of Manufacturers, the United States is the leading manufacturing country. The U.S. produces 22 percent of the world's manufacturing output. In 2013, manufacturers in the U.S. added over $2 trillion to the economy and employed over 17 million workers. People employed by manufacturers make almost 25 percent more than workers in other sectors. On a per worker basis, manufacturing employees in the U.S. are more productive than those in other countries.