Phew, sometimes even MSNBC gets things right… Here are some interesting data amongst the fluff:
“The U.S. by far remains the world’s leading manufacturer by value of goods produced. It hit a record $1.6 trillion in 2007 — nearly double the $811 billion in 1987. For every $1 of value produced in China’s factories, America generates $2.50.
So what’s made in the USA these days?
The U.S. sold more than $200 billion worth of aircraft, missiles and space-related equipment in 2007. And $80 billion worth of autos and auto parts. Deere & Co., best known for its bright green and yellow tractors, sold $16.5 billion worth of farming equipment last year, much of it to the rest of the world. Then there’s energy products like gas turbines for power plants made by General Electric, computer chips from Intel and fighter jets from Lockheed Martin. Household names like GE, General Motors, IBM, Boeing, Hewlett-Packard are among the largest manufacturers by revenue.
Several trends have emerged over the decades:
- America makes things that other countries can’t. Today, “Made in USA” is more likely to be stamped on heavy equipment or the circuits that go inside other products than the TVs, toys, clothes and other items found on store shelves.
- U.S. companies have shifted toward high-end manufacturing as the production of low-value goods moves overseas. This has resulted in lower prices for shoppers and higher profits for companies.
- When demand slumps, all types of manufacturing jobs are lost. Some higher-end jobs — but not all — return with good times. Workers who make goods more cheaply produced overseas suffer.
About 12.7 million Americans, or 8 percent of the labor force, still held manufacturing jobs as of last month. Fifty years ago, 14.6 million people, or 28 percent of all workers, toiled in factories. The numbers — though painful to those who lost jobs — show how companies are making more with less.
Thirty years ago, U.S. producers made 80 percent of what the country consumed, according to the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI, an industry trade group. Now it’s around 65 percent.”
I bet 99% of people in the US (and in the world) would never believe in these numbers. The fact that American productivity allows us to employ so fewer people and get so much more wealth produced is astonishing.
Besides that, forcing manufacturing to remain in your country against the market will has been proven again and again to be a bad idea. After all, you can fool the market for a while but not forever.