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How Has US Manufacturing Changed over Time?

Manufacturing in the United States has steadily dropped off since the 1960s, when about 30 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was from manufacturing. Likewise, the manufacturing sector has lost more than 5.5 million employees since 2000, a loss of more than 30 percent. Economists say that the U.S. is not falling so far behind in the manufacture of older items such as television sets and household appliances but rather in the manufacture of newer goods such as cell phones and circuit boards. Some traditional goods, such as tile, have been almost entirely outsourced as well.

More facts about manufacturing:

  • The strongest manufacturing countries in the world are the U.S., China and Japan. About 8 percent of the world's total manufacturing output comes from China alone.

  • Only about 10 percent of manufacturing workers in the U.S. belong to a union.

  • As far as technology manufacturing goes, Asian countries are far outpacing the U.S. About 80% of printed circuit boards — used in computers, cell phones and other devices — are made in Asia, and about 40 percent of new microcircuitry factories built in 2007 were built in Taiwan.

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