Investing in the Future of U.S. Manufacturing, Our Commitment to American Jobs

March 3, 2021

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March 3, 2021
By John Furner, President & CEO, Walmart U.S.

When I joined Walmart in 1993, I remember reading about the company’s commitment to buy products that support American jobs. It was a continuation of Sam Walton’s “Bring it Home to the USA” initiative, launched in 1985. Supporting American jobs is part of who we are.

Then in 2013, 20 years after I started at Walmart, we made a bold commitment to invest $250 billion in products made, grown or assembled in America. We wanted to bring great new products to our customers that are sourced locally, and we wanted to support more jobs in the U.S. We’re on track to deliver on this commitment, but we think we can do more.

With the help of our supplier community, that’s exactly what we’ve done. More businesses are choosing to establish their manufacturing operations in the United States, and the result is more jobs for Americans – a lot more jobs. I just visited the town of Anderson, South Carolina. There’s a great company there – Techtronic Industries or “TTI” – that employs more than 1,500 people and assembles products that are sold in Walmart stores and on Walmart.com. Even better, they plan to double their headcount in Anderson over the next two years.

We want more American communities to see these same benefits, so today we’re strengthening our commitment to U.S. manufacturing. We’re doing it in a couple of ways.

First, we’re announcing a new commitment: over the next ten years, Walmart will spend an additional $350 billion on items made, grown or assembled in the U.S. We estimate that this spend will support more than 750,000 new American jobs.1 We’ve identified six priority categories to focus on: plastics; textiles; small electrical appliances; food processing; pharmaceutical and medical supplies; and Goods Not For Resale (GNFR).

This commitment will mean a few more impacts, including an estimated 100 million metric tons of CO2 emissions avoided by sourcing closer to our customers.2 It will also mean an increase in spending and support for small businesses and diverse suppliers and sellers who are based here in the U.S., and it will provide the opportunity for 9,000 entrepreneurs to become Walmart suppliers and sellers through our annual Open Call events.3 Open Call is one of my favorite days of the whole year at Walmart. We invite basically ANYONE with a shelf-ready product that supports American jobs to pitch it to us. This year’s event will be held virtually on June 30.

We’re also launching a concept we call “American Lighthouses.” We plan to unite key stakeholders in specific regions of the country to identify and overcome top-down barriers to U.S. production. These Lighthouses will bring together participants from the supplier community (including manufacturers and NGOs) as well as others from academia, government and local economic development groups. By bringing together key regions and various stakeholders, we can make the supply chain more efficient. The aim is to bring U.S. manufacturing back in a sustainable, long-term way.

U.S. manufacturing really matters. It matters to our suppliers, to entrepreneurs and to the environment. It matters to our customers - more than 85% of which have said it’s important for us to carry products made or assembled in the U.S.4 And most of all, because of the jobs it brings, it matters to American communities and the people who live in them.

1 Per Boston Consulting Group using data from the Economic Policy Institute and Bureau of Labor statistics.
2 Calculated based on total spend of $350B from FY21 – FY31. Sources: Environmental Defense Fund, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (NCTAD). Boston Consulting Group analysis.
3 Based on number of opportunities (both direct and through marketplace) for Open Call applicants to become sellers and suppliers in 2020; corporate.walmart.com/newsroom/2020/10/02/more-than-175-small-businesses-find-opportunity-at-walmarts-first-ever-virtual-open-call-for-u-s-manufactured-products.
4 According to a survey done by Walmart’s Global Customer Insights & Analytics (GCIA) team in FY18 and confirmed in an April 2019 survey.