Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chart of the Day

Critics complain about a supposedly withering manufacturing base in America. I've previously disputed the point.

In reviewing the data recently, I examined the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Chartbook of International Labor Comparisons, which includes (at Section 5.9, page 44) the global share of manufacturing output in 2007. Contrary to the claims, it shows the United States with 20 percent and China at 12 percent.

I wondered how that would look adjusted for population (also from 2007):

source: NOfP chart based on BLS Chartbook, Sections 5.1, 5.9

Yes, I know that this presentation over-emphasizes the effects of labor over capital. Still, it seems to me the United States has been both strong and productive in the manufacturing sector, which is growing again after the recession. In any event, blaming China won't help U.S. manufacturing.

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