But manufacturing in the United States is not dead or even dying. It is moving upscale, following the biggest profits and becoming more efficient.
The United States remains by far the world’s leading manufacturer by value of goods produced. It hit a record $1.6 trillion in 2007 – nearly double the $811 billion of 1987. For every $1 of value produced in China factories, the United States generates $2.50.
The United States 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, 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 are 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, International Business Machines, Boeing and Hewlett-Packard are among the largest manufacturers by revenue.
Not surprising: production of low-value goods goes overseas, while we use a bigger industrial/educational base and raw material (including wetware) to make the complicated stuff.
But if that complicated stuff requires any parts from offshore, we could be in a quandary.