Industry Articles From Kaempf and Harris

14 More Sheet Metal Facts To Understand The Industry


Do you know how many welders are female? Or which states offer experienced metal fabricators the highest salary? How about the number of steel grades that exist?

Last year, Kaempf & Harris looked at the production rate, annual revenue, common projects, and exports of the metal fabrication industry. Now, we’re discussing the licensing, demographics, injury rate, and more with the latest statistics and facts from the industry experts:
  1. No license is required to work in this field of manufacturing. However, popular registrations include a welding certification from the American Welding Society or a building information modeling (BIM), welding, or testing and balancing certification from the Sheet Metal Institute.
  2. Only about 3 percent of U.S. welding professionals are women.
  3. As of 2013, “machine shops is the largest sub-sector within the fabricated metals industry with $40.0 shipments, followed by fabricated structural metals with $27.5 billion [and] sheet metal works with $20.3 billion,” according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of Manufacturers.
  4. The average American welder is 54 years old, and about 45 percent of the workforce is 50 years or older.
  5. Metal fabricators have a higher rate of injuries and illnesses than the national average, about 4.5 cases per every 100 full-time workers. Common accidents in this trade career include cuts from sharp metal, burns from soldering or welding, and falls from ladders or scaffolds. (Ensure that your fab shop is safe with our expert tips.)
  6. As of 2013, the metal fabrication sector employs 1.4 million workers, which is approximately 12 percent of all manufacturing employees in the nation.
  7. The most well-paid sheet metal fabricators make an average of $81,000. They work in Washington, California, and New Jersey.
  8. More than 3,500 different grades of steel exist, and approximately 75 percent of modern materials have been developed in the past two decades.
  9. In 2014, the United States exported $43.7 billion of fabricated metal products, with metal valves alone accounting for 30 percent of the total.
  10. It takes more than 40 trees to create a normal wood-frame home, but it takes approximately only four recycled steel cars to build a 2,000-square-foot house.
  11. According to the Occupation Employment Statistics in 2015, the most common metal fabrication job is a machinist, followed by a welder/cutter/solderer/brazer then team assembler.  
  12. By 2020, the international metal fabrication equipment market is expected to grow by almost 7 percent. This is due to favorable government initiatives from the new administration, the fourth industrial revolution enhancement of automation, and 3D metrology equipment.
  13. To support a greener future in this trade career, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Industrial Technologies Program, Save Energy Now, has a goal to reduce 25 percent or more industrial energy intensity over a period of ten years.
  14. The first sign of modern sheet metal technique was in 1485 when Leonardo da Vinci drew a sketch of a rolling mill, which was very advanced for the time.

With more than 58,000 local fab shops around the nation, we’re excited to see the influx of new technology, including cordless tools and self-cleaning sheet metal, within the next year. We also fully support the push for an increase of women and eco-friendly techniques in this particular trade career, as we continue to make our own strides in this direction. 


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These facts were compiled with the help of the American Iron and Steel Institute, BOSS Magazine, CNBC, the Metal Fabrication Equipment Market, Truity, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. News & World Report, and the World Steel Association.

Topics: Education, Welding, Tools & Techniques, Metals, Industry, Safety

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