Plumbing Manufacturing: Key Driver of Jobs, Innovation and Growth

With facilities in 41 states, plumbing fixtures and fittings manufacturers contribute $116.7 billion to the American economy – about four-tenths of 1% of America’s gross domestic product, according to the Plumbing Manufacturing Industry Economic Impact Study.

Plumbing manufacturers generate more than $47.7 billion in direct annual output, providing 208,283 jobs and $13.2 billion in wages. After adding the impacts of suppliers and household spending by employees of the industry and its suppliers, the total economic impact of the plumbing manufacturing industry increases to $116.7 billion. This total impact accounts for 517,696 jobs, $35.3 billion in wages, and $15 billion in tax revenue. View the study's methodology and FAQ to learn more.

American plumbing manufacturers have helped to save significant amounts of water and energy with the creation of more than 41,000 EPA-certified WaterSense products, including 20,105 faucets, 13,008 showerheads, 6,867 toilets, 925 urinals, and 572 spray sprinklers, according to the WaterSense Accomplishments Report.

Combined, these fixtures and fittings saved 1.1 trillion gallons of water in 2022. Since 2006, the year WaterSense began, the program has saved more than 7.5 trillion gallons of water while reducing the bills of water and energy customers by $171 billion. WaterSense products have reduced the energy needed to heat, pump and treat water by 800 billion kilowatt hours – enough energy to supply a year’s worth of power to about 83 million homes – and have eliminated 337 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions – the equivalent of planting 5.6 billion trees, the report states.

The plumbing manufacturing industry is a part of one of the most significant and productive sectors fueling the U.S. economy – the manufacturing industry. Manufacturers contributed a record estimate of $2.89 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2023, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. For every $1 spent in manufacturing, there is a total impact of $2.69 to the overall U.S. economy, making manufacturing one of the highest economic sector multipliers, NAM states.

Career opportunities abound

For the plumbing manufacturing industry, a skilled workforce is fundamental to continued growth and innovation. PMI members report a talent shortage in the industry – from production, maintenance and technician positions to machinists, engineers and industrial designers. To compete globally, plumbing manufacturers require high-quality workers, as well as a strong technical workforce.

With more than 500,000 job openings in 2024 and an estimated 4 million jobs needed to be filled by 2030 within the overall manufacturing industry sector, according to NAM, there are opportunities for many – including young people, women and individuals from diverse backgrounds – to start a career in the field.

PMI favors better coordination among educators, federal and state governments and the private sector to recruit secondary and post-secondary school graduates with the necessary job training to fill vacant manufacturing positions.

PMI also supports legislation and grant funding to increase student participation in work-based learning opportunities and promote the use of industry-recognized credentials and other recognized post-secondary credentials. PMI currently supports proposed legislation that would allow Americans to use 529 education savings accounts to pay for costs related to certification exams and maintenance of certification credentials, allowing lifelong students to upskill and reskill throughout their careers. By providing pathways to fill the estimated 500,000 job openings in the manufacturing sector, the bill would enable manufacturers to satisfy their demand for skilled labor. The bill will also broaden learning opportunities for plumbers, the primary workforce for installation of plumbing fixtures and fittings.

Many PMI member companies have developed co-op and intern programs to train and place college students in permanent roles. They also have opened their doors to students and others to draw attention to the roles manufacturers play in their communities and to underscore the economic and social significance of manufacturing.