Manufacturing accounts for 57 percent of U.S. exports.
Some economists argue that the decline in manufacturing is not a big deal because the future of the U.S. economy rests with services. They contend the decline in manufacturing does not constitute a deleterious threat to the U.S. economy. But a competitive manufacturing sector remains essential for U.S. prosperity. A principal reason is that manufacturing accounts for 57 percent of U.S. exports. To balance the trade deficit through increased services exports alone would require them to grow at an annual compound rate of 13.5 percent over the next decade, whereas their annual growth rate from 2001-2010 was 7.9 percent. However, to balance trade by 2019 with only manufacturing exports, they would have to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 9.4 percent, compared to their growth rate of 6 percent over the prior decade. In other words, manufacturing has a "shorter road to hoe" in terms of the increase in exports required of it to balance the trade deficit. The simple reality is that the United States will not be able to close its trade deficit without a globally competitive manufacturing sector.