Let’s Be Proud of Our Impact
By Mike Spagnola, SEMA President and CEO
As we enter a new year, the specialty-equipment industry finds itself with a fresh and powerful story to tell. You may have heard that SEMA recently released its "SEMA Economic Impact Report" highlighting the significant contributions of the specialty-equipment industry to the American economy.
Commissioned by SEMA, this first-of-its-kind study was researched and prepared by John Dunham & Associates based on 2023 economic data. (Access the data at the following link: sema.org/advocacy/2023-industry-economic-impact-study) The report complements the association's annual market research, which valued our industry at a record $52 billion in 2022. Impressive as that number may be, the economic impact study contains even more impressive figures surrounding our industry's financial output and support to the U.S. economy. Consider, for example, the following key statistics.
- Nationwide, the specialty-equipment industry supports more than 1.3 million American jobs.
- More than $104 billion worth of wages and benefits earned by American workers annually are supported by the industry.
- The industry accounts for more than $40 billion in taxes, including $24 billion in federal taxes and $16 billion in state and local taxes), which support the development of critical national and local infrastructure.
- The industry contributes more than $336 billion to the American economy annually.
Although we always knew that our industry plays a significant role in the lives of U.S. consumers, the strength of this new data has surpassed even our own expectations. Numbers like these are head-turning, and large media outlets inside and outside the automotive world are already taking notice.
Just as importantly, this study has vast implications for our industry's relations with legislators and gives us a real seat at the policy-making table. These numbers underscore how much our industry matters—if we were legislated out of existence, it would leave a huge hole in the American economy.
For those of us employed in the trade, this report can also enhance our own appreciation of the industry in which we work. We can all take exceptional pride in who we are and what we represent. Much of the aftermarket is comprised of small businesses with a big impact. They grow the overall economy and create meaningful jobs. They forge partnerships that expand local economies across the United States. They innovate technologies and influence policies that help reduce vehicle emissions, and foster trust among customers, partners and workers across the auto industry.
SEMA is committed to sharing this message with the American public, the media, and government officials and policymakers from local to federal levels. In fact, you will see the association rolling out several initiatives in 2024 to give voice to the importance of our industry and the strength behind it.
We hope you, too, will visit the website, familiarize yourself with the data, and utilize the tools provided to help amplify our industry's significance to jobs, business and manufacturing, America's tax base, and the nation's overall economy. It's a message we can all spread with pride.