The US Economy’s Secret Weapon

After years of rising globalization, there’s a new trend. McKinsey has named it the “Titanium Economy:” a phenomenon recorded in the United States but which also concerns Europe. It involves small and mid-sized industrial technology companies, often privately owned, “that are redefining the future of US manufacturing.”

There is not just Silicon Valley in the future of the economy. Innovation is percolating through thousands of businesses which are often unknown to the general public. The recent layoffs announced by some of the major American high-tech groups — Amazon, Meta, Twitter — are not just an indication of their troubles, but are probably also the signal of a new trend after years of rising globalization. McKinsey has named it the Titanium Economy: a phenomenon recorded in the United States, but which also concerns Europe. Analysts from the consulting firm indicate that there are more than 4,000 American companies which, in the last 10 years, have seen an average return on investment of 11-15% — a performance often similar to that of the giants of Silicon Valley. They are small to mid-sized industrial technology companies, frequently privately owned, “that are redefining the future of U.S. manufacturing,” maintains McKinsey.

They have digitized their operations, they are flexible and capable of responding to external shifts, they have trained their work force, they plan acquisitions, they prioritize sustainability. NXP Semiconductors, for example, is a company with a presence in the U.S. but headquartered in the Netherlands; it creates products that allow for the application of machine learning across every sector. Qorvo, on the other hand, is a company based in North Carolina which produces critical smartphone parts on a large scale. McKinsey calculates that businesses such as these have the potential to increase the U.S. gross domestic product by between $275 and $460 billion by 2030 and to create between a minimum of 880,000 and a maximum of 1.5 million skilled and well-paid jobs. From the moment it is formed from these manufacturing industries, the Titanium Economy brings prosperity to the communities in which it invests.

The problem is that these companies are not well known and are underappreciated. According to McKinsey, if they succeed in attracting the attention of investors and skilled workers, they will be “the secret weapon of American industrial revival” in a post-globalization era. A vision to be put to the test, of course. But American businesses are fundamentally surprising — a crucial asset in a transatlantic economy.

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