Monday, February 7, 2011

Made in the USA?

There is a very common perception out there that nothing is manufactured in the US anymore.  A recent Op-Ed in the Boston Globe explains how that idea is far from the truth.  Here's a direct quote:

"Americans make more “stuff’’ than any other nation on earth, and by a wide margin. According to the United Nations’ comprehensive database of international economic data, America’s manufacturing output in 2009 (expressed in constant 2005 dollars) was $2.15 trillion. That surpassed China’s output of $1.48 trillion by nearly 46 percent. China’s industries may be booming, but the United States still accounted for 20 percent of the world’s manufacturing output in 2009 — only a hair below its 1990 share of 21 percent."

I would think that most people would find this information very surprising.  Here's a chart of the data used to show how much manufacturing actually takes place in the US (click the chart to link to another article on this subject):

There are absolutely less jobs in the manufacturing sector than in the past, but it is not because we manufacture less stuff, it is because technology has made us significantly more efficient and productive.  I can't believe that is a bad thing.