One of the more persistent myths about the U.S. is that it is no longer a manufacturing country. We hear leaders pronouncing that “America’s manufacturing core has been gutted.” There is also the claim that China is now the world’s number-one manufacturing country.
These assertions are false.
Here’s what’s true. Manufacturing in the U.S. has increased every year since 1970, with the exception of the last two recessionary years. In 2009, the latest year with full statistics, the U.S. produced 46 percent more than China. Total American output was equal to that of Germany, Japan, the U.K., and Italy combined. As well, U.S. output in 2009 equaled that of Korea, France, Canada, Mexico, India, Russian, Brazil, Spain, Australia, Turkey, and Indonesian combined.
And even though America’s share of world manufacturing since 1970 is down to 21 percent from 25 percent, this is due to big increases in other countries. Overall U. S. output over the last four decades has more than doubled.
With all of these facts clearly available from many sources, including the UN, why do leaders keep talking about the “collapse of American manufacturing”? The answer is jobs. The U.S. has doubled its manufacturing output since 1970 while shedding seven million manufacturing jobs. The American economy, except in the government sector, continually improves productivity by replacing labor with technology.