Blog | October 2, 2020

Battery Manufacturing Careers are Enabling Our Everyday Lives and Re-building Our Economy

Lead battery manufacturing employee in facility

What is MFG Day?

Manufacturing Day is the day each year when America’s manufacturing industries showcase the reality of modern manufacturing careers around the country, and the people who form this vital sector of the American economy.

The lead battery industry is proud to be a critical domestic manufacturing industry, providing essential support and components to America’s IT, energy, transportation and other sectors. Lead battery manufacturers and recyclers in the U.S. provide high-skill, high-tech and high-paying manufacturing jobs right here at home. The National Association of Manufacturers believes manufacturing employers around the country are seeking to fill 4.6 million of these jobs over the next decade.

Manufacturing careers are also at the heart of some of the most impactful work being done in response to the pandemic and we are excited to shine a spotlight on the lead battery manufacturing and recycling industry.

Essentiality and Circular Economy of Lead Battery Industry

The future of the industry is bright as noted during recent industry forecasts. At the European Lead Battery Conference in September, Christophe Pillot of Avicenne Energy noted that the global rechargeable battery market is valued at $89 billion and growing at a rate of 9 to 10% per year. According to Pillot, the macro-trends driving the market are the fact that batteries are a key technology for new concepts of mobility and energy. Additional factors include:

  • Population increase and city growth is challenging existing mobility and energy solutions
  • Shift in energy production with an increasing focus on renewable energy, which needs battery storage
  • And a global awareness regarding global warming is pushing for adoption of green solutions many of which are powered or supported by batteries

Lead batteries, with their recycling rate of 99%, align with these trends by forming a circular economy that reduces the need for virgin resources as the recycled batteries create the feedstock for new batteries. Lead batteries are nearly 100% recyclable and reuse the lead, plastic and acid for the manufacture of new batteries, or in the case of the acid, other products such as gypsum board.

The growing use of start-stop technology, enabled by lead batteries, reduces CO2 emissions by 4.5 million tons each year in the U.S.

In the case of renewable energy, lead batteries can provide energy storage capabilities for commercial wind and solar farms, as well as residential and community-based installations to capture energy generated by the wind and sun. They are also deployed in remote small-scale hydro-electric systems to help provide essential, clean energy for communications, refrigeration and more to many of the 1 billion people in remote areas who lack access to a power grid.

Lead Battery Industry Economic Impact

MFG Day is an opportunity to show the domestic strength of the lead battery industry and commitment to U.S. manufacturing jobs. We represent more than $6 billion in labor income and employ nearly 25,000 direct jobs, and 92,000 indirect jobs.

The average, per-worker salary among lead mining and recycling companies is $98,100; the average, per-worker salary among lead battery manufacturers is $64,000. Compared to many other private industry sectors, salaries in the lead battery industry are 96% higher for mining and recycling workers, and 28% higher for manufacturing workers.

In addition to direct employees, the industry supports 30,900 supplier jobs in a variety of industries, and an additional 36,600 jobs from worker spending in different industries.

Together the impact is nearly 92,000 jobs. Beyond job impact, the lead battery industry annually supports nearly:

  • $10.9 billion in gross domestic product (GDP);
  • $26.3 billion in output or overall economic impact in 2018; and
  • $2.4 billion in government revenue.

Battery Manufacturing During COVID-19

In March when COVID-19 halted large parts of the U.S. economy, facility workers in the lead battery manufacturing and recycling industry heroically stayed on their jobs to ensure that critical safety, connectivity and transport services continued to operate.

Under the guidance set out by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, a part of the Department of Homeland Security, lead batteries are essential to the following sectors: energy, transportation and logistics, communications and information, and critical manufacturing. In order to continue supplying these industries with the batteries needed for them to function, the industry quickly adapted to the new normal.

As an industry accustomed to working with hazardous materials, the lead battery industry was able to pivot more rapidly than other industries to the new safety measures necessitated by COVID-19. Employees were already accustomed to stringent hygiene protocols including showering at the end of shifts, and frequent handwashing. Wearing masks was already a standard practice for many. To maintain social distancing, special care was taken to stagger lunch breaks and separate lunch tables to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control. In one company, they moved from a three-shift schedule to create more than 50 shifts to ensure workers were having minimal contact as they began or ended their workday.

Thank You to Our Battery Manufacturing Workers

U.S. manufacturing employees will play a significant role in our country emerging from the current crisis. We want to thank the nearly 25,000 employees working hard everyday in the vital lead battery manufacturing and recycling industry for their role.


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Steve Binks of the International Lead Association

...[this] is the start of a journey that will raise global standards and help ensure that lead batteries continue to be a key enabling technology for the transition to a low carbon future.

Dr. Steve Binks, Regulatory Affairs Director, International Lead Association