The History of the Semiconductor Industry in the U.S. and Why it Matters

Learn about the history of the semiconductor industry, the global impacts, and the competition for semiconductor companies in the USA.

Share to:

The Semiconductor industry has a rich history that dates back to as early as the 1700s.

From the beginning, the semiconductor industry changed the world with innovation and breakthroughs in the industrial, medical, automotive, aerospace fields. The industry has continued to pave the way overall for technology innovation and breakthrough that benefits us all. This is even in spite of a global pandemic and extreme supply chain shortages! 

Semiconductor Industry History in the U.S.

The United States has led the world in the development of technology for many years. The industry touches everything from cars to planes to healthcare technology. Since the 1990s, the U.S. has led in the advancement and growth of the industry. The federal government became invested in the industry as computers were invented and began to grow. This technology also contributes greatly to the military. Because of this, there was a great initial investment in the research for the industry in the beginning. The growth of the semiconductor industry provides new opportunities overall for economic growth and the growth of other industries. 

Additionally, there are many sub-sections in the industry. This includes consumer electronics, automotive, industrial, and more. As technology advances, so do the opportunities available to people worldwide. Currently, there is a great demand for 5G and other technology. This has undeniably forced the industry to grow, adapt, and produce at incredible rates.

Global Impacts of the U.S. Semiconductor Industry

The U.S. is to credit for the creation of the semiconductor. The world of modern technology would not be the same without the innovation and contribution of the U.S. Everything from healthcare technology to cell phones to cars are impacted by the industry. At this point, the U.S. continues to lead in the industry when it comes to research, design, and more.  Much of the United States’ technological advancements and economic growth can be linked to the semiconductor industry. Semiconductors are a main export of the U.S. 

More recently, the U.S. has led the semiconductor industry in the development and advancement of 5G technology and artificial intelligence. For example, in the summer of 2020, AT&T gained nationwide coverage for its 5G network. T-Mobile accomplished this the December before. This has enabled companies to create bigger networks.  Also, as semiconductor technology gets smaller and more advanced, the opportunities grow. 

The future of the industry includes changing and enhancing productivity, the e-commerce marketplace, and more. Most recently, the Covid-19 pandemic proved the importance of technology. From ordering groceries to working from home, the modern advancements that we have grown to know and love ultimately became sources of livelihood for so many.


How is the U.S. Semiconductor Industry Keeping up with Global Competitors

Though semiconductor technology certainly shined through the height of the pandemic, it also became evident that the industry can be disrupted quickly. Because of the supply chain issues, the industry is still recovering and will continue to do so. However, due to the supply chain disruptions, the increased demand for technology ultimately led to growth. Consequently, much of the manufacturing is now taking place in Asia. This, along with trade policy, is resulting in the need for greater competition for the U.S. 

The competitiveness of the industry is seen by many as an important part of the country’s economic growth and especially national security. Yet, the fact that people travel from all around the world to study at American universities gives the U.S. a competitive edge. This is in addition to U.S. manufacturing jobs paying better than other manufacturing jobs. This also encourages people to work and remain in the industry. 

What steps has the U.S. taken in 2021 to stay globally competitive?

In hopes of improving the United States’ competitive edge even further, the House of Representatives approved a bill in early 2021 that included funding for investing in the semiconductor industry. This is meant to assist with the cuts that the industry faced, specifically during the pandemic. In addition, the bill will set up a program to give financial assistance to build, expand, or modernize semiconductor fabrication plants in the U.S..  Altogether, this is great news in order to stay ahead as a leader against our global competitors.

In conclusion, the semiconductor industry is growing exponentially, and demand has reached new levels despite the global pandemic. From self-driving cars to life-saving healthcare, this technology has obviously changed the world for good. Even though the industry has experienced many bumps in the past year, the future potential for growth and improvement is so promising. For this purpose, semiconductor companies and our national leaders in the U.S. continue to invest in ways that will keep up with the competition around the globe as a leader in the industry. Overall, the future is bright for the industry. 

Table of Contents

    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents