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Made in the USA: Survey says- Cost often trumps nationalism

April 25/May 2, 2016; Volume 30, Number 22

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Americans may love their country, baseball and apple pie, but when it comes to their wallets they would prefer lower prices instead of paying a premium for items labeled “Made in the USA.” These findings are based on a poll recently conducted by the Associated Press and GfK Public Affairs and Corporate Communications, a division of GfK Custom Research North America, between March 31 and April 4.

Flooring dealers interviewed by FCNews were generally in agreement that while Made in the USA is just one factor in the purchasing process, it is not the determining factor. Case in point: Dave Snedeker, divisional merchandise manager, flooring, Nebraska Furniture Mart, believes Made in the USA is a strong motivator at certain price points only. “As you move up in price points it becomes more about the style and design and less about country of origin,” he said. “[Made in the USA] still has value to customers and staff but it seems to be just one of the factors used to finalize the sale.”

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 12.53.26 PMPerhaps one reason for this sentiment is incomes have barely improved in recent years, forcing many households to look for the best bargains instead of goods made in the USA, which traditionally cost more to produce. As the Associated Press-GfK survey reveals, 71% of people polled said they would like to buy U.S.-made goods but they are often too costly or difficult to find. Meanwhile, only 9% said they would buy items made in America even if they cost more.

On the subject of a Free Trade Agreement, often referenced during the 2016 Presidential campaign, Americans are slightly more likely to say free trade agreements are positive for the economy overall than negative at 33% to 27%. But 37% say the deals make no difference. Republicans (35%) are more likely than Democrats (22%) to say these agreements are bad for the economy. On jobs, 46% say the agreements decrease jobs for American workers, while 11% say they improve job opportunities and 40% abstained. Pessimism was especially pronounced among the 18% of respondents with a family member or friend whose job was offshored. Sixty-four percent of this group said free trade had decreased the availability of jobs.