Today, Oct. 3rd, Americans and businesses will come together across the nation to recognize the importance of manufacturers to the United States economy and communities in all 50 states. As Americans take note, there is no better example of the contribution of manufacturers to the nation than that made by Chrysler, Ford and GM.

Led by Chrysler, Ford and GM, representing the heart of U.S. manufacturing, the U.S. economy IS on the rise, creating jobs and expanding opportunity at a rate that hasn't been seen in years. In fact, the more than 200,000 Americans employed by U.S. automakers are building vehicles to export overseas, helping to make the automotive industry America's largest export sector.

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Manufacturing Day 2014 is an opportunity for the U.S. automakers, and the rest of the manufacturing economy, to highlight their importance to economy and country. In the early summer, the American Automotive Policy Council (AAPC) released a new report, The State of the U.S. Automotive Industry 2014, that precisely laid out the contributions of the American automakers to the overall U.S. economy. The study concluded that after a period of hard decisions, transformation and renewal, the American auto industry is once again growing. The result? More American-made cars and trucks on the road, expanded and state-of-the-art production facilities and tens of thousands of new jobs for the automakers and their suppliers.

As the nation recognizes the impact of its manufacturing economy, here are a few facts to keep in mind:

*      Automakers and their suppliers are America's largest manufacturing sector, responsible for 3 percent of America's GDP. 

*      Automakers are America's largest exporters. Over the past five years, automakers have exported more than $563 billion in vehicles and parts - approximately $86 billion more than the next largest exporter.

*      Chrysler, Ford and General Motors employ two out of three of America's autoworkers.

*      Chrysler, Ford and General Motors operate two out of three of America's assembly plants.

*      Over the past five years alone, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors have invested more than $28 billion in their U.S. assembly, engine and transmission plants, R&D labs, headquarters offices and other infrastructure that connects and supports them.

The United States always has been and always will be the home to innovative, cutting-edge manufacturing. By building and exporting the world's best products, U.S. manufacturers, particularly U.S. automakers, are driving the industry into the new century and expanding jobs and opportunity throughout America.

As we take time to celebrate the contributions of our manufacturers, it's important to remember the unique contributions of Chrysler, Ford and GM to our manufacturing economy.

Blunt served as Missouri's governor from 2005 to 2009. He is currently president of the American Automotive Policy Council.