Consumers often tend to think more about buying American when they are about to make a big ticket item purchase than they do when making smaller purchases, and for good reason. When we’re about to spend more American dollars than usual, we want to make sure it goes toward keeping American workers employed.

When it comes to buying appliances for the kitchen, the best way to buy American is to buy Whirlpool appliances. And when you do, you’ll be supporting the company that employs more American workers than any other major appliance maker. The Whirlpool refrigerator I bought in 2008 has a sticker with this information proudly affixed inside, and recently it has become obvious the company CEO hasn’t been shy in trumpeting this fact (as well as other patriotic facts) in the media.

On March 9, Whirlpool chairman and CEO Jeff Fettig spoke to the Detroit Economic Club (as well as three Detroit-area high schools) about the company’s American economic footprint. It’s great that there is more being talked about in Detroit than just the recent return to profitability of the Big Three American automakers.

In his presentation Fettig highlighted Whirlpool’s commitment to investing $1 billion in the United States over the next five years.

Here are six significant facts about Whirlpool that prove this American company is deserving of your American consumer dollars:

  1. Whirlpool employs 23,000 American workers, with 17,000 of those in manufacturing.

  2. Whirlpool spends $600 million annually in research and development.
  3. Eighty-two percent of all Whirlpool products sold in the U.S. are built in the U.S. – more than any other competitor (the closest two build 67 percent and 42 percent)
  4. Twelve percent of their U.S. built products are exported to other countries, which helps lower America’s trade deficit.
  5. Whirlpool spends $7.4 billion each year to manufacture products in the USA.
  6. Whirlpool has given $75 million in cash and in-kind donations to non-profit organizations since 2006, and donates one range and one refrigerator to each Habitat home built in the United States.

Where are Whirlpool’s nine American manufacturing plants located, and what do they make?

  1. Ottawa, Ohio (freezers).

  2. Tulsa, Oklahoma (ranges).
  3. Clyde, Ohio (washers). $175 million is being invested here to produce water and energy efficient appliances.
  4. Marion, Ohio (dryers).
  5. Fort Smith, Arkansas (refrigerators).
  6. Amana, Iowa (refrigerators). $20 million is being invested here to improve efficiency and productivity.
  7. Fort Smith, Arkansas (refrigerators).
  8. Greenville, Ohio (portables).
  9. Cleveland, Tennessee (cooking). A brand new 400,000 sq. ft. distribution center and one million sq. ft. manufacturing plant is being built here, which will be the world’s largest premium cooking manufacturing plant.

Not only are many Whirlpool products built in the USA, they’re also designed and engineered in the USA. American-owned companies are far more likely to provide non-manufacturing jobs like these in the United States compared to their foreign-owned competitors.

Who are the foreign-owned competitors?

  1. Frigidaire. Formerly owned by General Motors until 1979, Frigidaire is now controlled by Swedish-owned Electrolux, which replaced a 2,700-employee factory in Michigan with a 3,000-employee facility in Mexico in 2006.

  2. Samsung (based in Korea).
  3. LG (formerly Lucky Goldstar, also based in Korea)
  4. Haier (China). Would you buy an American-made refrigerator by a Chinese-owned company? You can if you patronize this brand. Sure, they employ some American workers, but the profits go to China to reward Chinese owners, investors, shareholders, etc.

In addition to knowing we have an American-owned company that produces so many of their products in the United States, it helps to know that their CEO knows how important the domestic market is to their success. CEO Jeff Fettig recently said, “Our U.S. presence is, and always will be, the foundation of our global enterprise. We are very confident in the future of U.S. manufacturing and proud to have more U.S. manufacturing employees than all of our major competitors combined.”

It is one thing for a company CEO to pay lip service to support of American manufacturing, but it’s quite another thing when he has the evidence to back it up, and Whirlpool does just that. There are other American companies out there that employ American workers (General Electric intends to add nearly 1,300 new American jobs by 2014) but none have demonstrated the commitment to America that Whirlpool has (Whirlpool also owns Jenn-Air, KitchenAid, Maytag, and Amana brand names).

So if you’re planning on buying big ticket items for your kitchen, now you know how to have a big impact on American investment and manufacturing by putting America’s top appliance manufacturer at the top of your list.

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