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Key Facts and Trends in the U.S. Fabricated Metals Manufacturing Industry

Posted by IndustrySelect on Tuesday, January 30, 2024


You can find fabricated metal products in almost every home, office and factory nationwide. This manufacturing sector covers processes including:

● Forging.

● Stamping.

● Bending.

● Forming.

● Machining.

● Welding.

● Assembly.

Supported by the growing trend toward reshoring, prospecting in the U.S. fabricated metals market can yield many rich veins. Many manufacturers are impatient with lead times for parts from overseas and are anxious to switch to domestic sources. Fabricators sell everything from medical equipment to tractor-trailer parts.Get an inside look at the U.S. fabricated metals industry, including top trends and statistics based on exclusive data collected by MNI, publisher and compiler of the industrial data that powers IndustrySelect. 

Reach 34,000 fabricated metals manufacturers and 88,000 executive decision-makers with MNI's Fabricated Metal Products Industrial Database.

Key Facts and Trends in the U.S. Fabricated Metals Manfuacturing Industry

34,461 fabricated metal companies nationwide provide 1,373,057 jobs. This is an increase of 3.26% over the previous year. U.S. fabricated metal companies posted $520 billion in average reported yearly sales. This sector has more customers at home than abroad. As compared to 29% percent for U.S. manufacturing as a whole, international distribution for U.S. fabricated metal companies is 25%. Importation of raw materials is not quite as friendly to the home field, with 12% for the sector as opposed to 11% for manufacturing in general. However, if you supply raw materials, this figure still allows many opportunities for sales.

U.S. fabricated metal companies are precisely on par with other U.S. manufacturers in some categories. For both, 5% are publicly traded, 2% are women-owned and 1% are minority-owned. If you have a marketing strategy concerning any of these issues, you won’t need to adjust it for the fabricated metals market.

You’ll find 32% of U.S. fabricated metal companies in the South and an equal percentage in the Midwest. The rest of the country, however, still houses substantial numbers, with 18% in the Northeast and 18% in the West. 

While you may choose potential prospects by location, you can also look at subindustries that fit your company’s offerings. Many potential targets are listed below.

What Specific Subindustries are Encompassed by Fabricated Metals?

1. Fabricated Structural Metal Products

Products from this subindustry include metal linings, culverts, casings, bar joists and plates. They find promising markets in constructing bridges, railway tracks and highways. With the federal funding newly designated for infrastructure, this subindustry can expect growth. See more on the fabricated structural metal products industry, including top companies, here

2. Sheet Metal Fabrication

You can find many metals in sheet form. Common ones are steel, aluminum and copper. Copper is often used for decorative applications on buildings. Steel sheets are durable and have high tensile strength. They are often the choice for construction and machinery fabrication. Read more about this powerful industry. 

3. Automotive Stamping

Smart and electric vehicles will drive the demand for automotive stampings. You may find fertile prospecting ground in companies that provide parts for new projects from Ford and General Motors. Get to know the top automotive stamping companies in the U.S.

4. Valve and Pipe Fittings

Valve and pipe fittings find heavy usage in the oil and gas industry. The global market for these products is projected to grow to 99.8 billion by 2028. Your company may be in line to supply busy producers.Discover key trends and top companies in the valve and pipe fitting industry

5. Screw Machine Products

These products are produced by turning on lathes. While the first ones were, predictably, metal screws, the line increased to hardware, bolts and various other parts. These items are used in almost every industry, making their fabricators reliable customers. Read more about top trends and leading companies in the screw machine products industry. 

6. Machine Tools

The trend toward reshoring is causing a rise in the demand for domestically produced machine tools. You can view these manufacturers as a growing potential market. Learn about the machine tool industry here

7. Metal Stampings

You can find metal stampings in almost every machine or appliance. They are used in aerospace, medicine, automotive and agriculture. The wide range of applications helps to make this sub-industry a robust market. Discover key trends and top companies in the U.S. metal stamping industry

8. Saw blades and Handsaws

While you might not see the saw blade market as huge at first glance, the U.S. saw blade and handsaw market is expected to grow to $137.5 million by 2027. Exploring opportunities there may be well worth your time.

9. Plumbing Fixture Fittings

This is another growing market. It is expected to increase at a rate of 5.88% to $170.69 billion by 2030. This is due to homeowners modifying their dwellings to add or expand bathrooms and enlarge kitchens.

10. Architectural Metal Work

This subindustry includes fences, handrails, balcony rails, screen doors and window guards. It has been growing, but with a slowdown in housing, it may increase at a slower rate. Still, it may offer opportunities in areas with high demand for new housing.

11. Iron and Steel Forgings

Forgings are made by applying force and pressure, with or without a die. Most forging facilities are in the Midwest and Northeast. These companies are usually located near their customers, which include the aerospace, defense and automotive industries. When dealing with these companies, keep in mind that a large proportion of the more successful ones are privately held.

12. Plating and Polishing

This subindustry serves the automotive sector as well as the aerospace, electronics, medical and energy industries. Metal substitutes challenge demand. This is particularly true as vehicles require lower-weight materials. Before entering this marketplace, check the needs of your prospects’ customer bases. Explore the top ten industrial plating and polishing companies in the U.S.

13. Wire Springs

Foreign competition and the rising cost of raw materials adversely affect this sub-industry. However, the wide usage of its products across many industry sectors sometimes compensates. It does present opportunities. Still, you would be wise to check downstream demand before dipping your toe in this pool.

As with any industry, fabricated metals face trends and challenges. Considering them may aid in targeting prospective customers.

Market Trends in the U.S. Fabricated Metals Sector

The U.S. labor shortage impacts this industry very strongly. Many fabricators find the skilled craftsmen they require in short supply and expect the situation to worsen. Most of these workers are above 50 and will be retiring. The pandemic accelerated the move toward early retirement. While some fabricators attempt to hire younger workers, the skill and experience to produce quality work are often lacking. It’s taken companies weeks or more to find these younger workers and many months to train them. Even with that effort, the labor force is insufficient.

Some companies have jumped on the automation bandwagon to compensate for the lack of human hands. Others are investing in new technology, such as fiber lasers. If you sell equipment that will increase production without additional workers, you’re ahead of the game.

You may be aware that many companies experience declining profits due to inflation. Inflation is exacerbated by the higher wages required to combat the labor shortage. Supply chain disruptions have also increased costs. Many fabricators have chosen to lose money rather than lose customers. If you can offer solutions that will return them to profitability, you’ll be welcomed with open arms.

Finding Prospects in the U.S. Fabricated Metals Industry

Are you looking to build your prospect list with contacts at fabricated metals facilities? In these fast-moving industries, you need the most up-to-date information on company locations, positions and executive emails. An IndustrySelect subscription can provide these and the services you need to ride the wave of these developing markets. To learn more about using IndustrySelect to generate the reliable, high-quality leads you need, set up your free demo account of IndustrySelect, pre-loaded with 500 free leads to get you started! 



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