Issues remain for U.S. manufacturers, but opportunities abound, according to economic futurist Jeff Thredgold. In a column for mfrtech.com headlined "U.S. Manufacturing...Pain & Promise," Thredgold cites a number of statistics that point to the rebound -- and continued importance -- of the U.S. manufacturing sector.
It might surprise you that the U.S. continues to lead the world in manufacturing output. We produce more than the Chinese, the Japanese, the Germans, etc. U.S. output exceeds that of China by 40% It might surprise you that the U.S. share of global manufacturing output, at 20%-25%, is essentially the same as it was 40 years ago It might surprise you that output per U.S. worker is three times what it was in 1980 and twice as high as it was in 1990Yes, despite all the talk about service jobs and a post-industrial economy, Thredgold says manufacturing is still important. And it's making a comeback. U.S. manufacturing employment actually rose by 136,000 net new jobs during 2010, he said, the first annual increase since 1997. And the trend seems to be ongoing -- in January, the U.S. added another 49,000 manufacturing jobs, the largest monthly gain in 12 years.