'Made in America': 'World News' Looks at U.S. Economy

From Dallas family to Smithsonian, focus remains on American goods and jobs.

April 18, 2011 — -- "We want to create and sell products all over the world that are stamped with three simple words: 'Made in America.' That's our goal."

Those were the words of President Obama in December and they now compose the title of a special "World News" series "Made in America," which focuses on U.S. manufacturing, jobs and what they mean for the nation's economy.

More than 11 million Americans get their paychecks from working in factories, and according to Moody's Economy.com, if every American spent an extra $3.33 on U.S.-made goods every year, it would create nearly 10,000 new jobs.

The "Made in America" series kicked off last month with the Usry family of Dallas -- Jon, Anna, Landon, Ellis and Amber.

"World News" asked them to take part in an experiment. They were asked to empty their living room, kitchen and master bedroom of all imported products and replace them with goods made in the United States. They were left with the kitchen sink and a lone vase filled with hydrangeas.

Companies from all over the United States lent items for our Made in America showcase, including Viking Range Corp., which provided an oven and stove, and Harden furniture in upstate New York.

See the before and after pictures of the Usrys' home.

Then came our questions: "Are your clothes made in America?" -- and our quizzes testing viewers' knowledge of iconic brands.

Viewers responded via email and video, taking us through their homes, turning their furniture upside down, checking labels and taking a pledge to buy more American.

'Made in America'? Not at Smithsonian

We even found that at the Smithsonian, gift shops were selling patriotic keepsakes that had been made in China. After a meeting with lawmakers, Smithsonian officials said they would sell more American-made souvenirs and even promised to devote one shop to U.S.-made items only.

The "World News" interactive map filled up with submissions from companies that make their goods in the United States and with American-sourced materials. We learned during calls to various business owners, though, that it's almost impossible to create textiles from start to finish with 100 percent U.S.-made materials.

We talked to the people making those U.S. products, including the Frys, a brother-sister team that runs CarolinaChair.com, a direct-to-consumer custom furniture manufacturer. They've stayed in the United States even as they watched other manufacturers leave Hickory, N.C., and the states to lower costs and be more competitive.

Click Here to Purchase Your "Made in America" T-Shirt

This week, "World News" kicks off its "All-Star series" of "Made in America," so please keep watching and check out our list of websites devoted to U.S. companies.