Worse Than the Great Depression: What the Experts Are Missing About American Manufacturing Decline

March 21, 2012

Here’s an ugly and overlooked fact: Not only did America lose nearly six million manufacturing jobs in the last decade but the decline as a share of total manufacturing jobs (33 percent) exceeded the rate of loss in the Great Depression. Despite this unprecedented negative performance, most economists, pundits and elected officials are remarkably blasé, largely because they attribute this job loss to superior productivity performance of U.S. manufacturers. The notion seems to be manufacturing has just gotten incredibly productive over the last decade, and while it may be tough on the workers who are let go, this is the price of success. All that is needed, if anything, are better programs and policies to help laid-off production workers.

ITIF presents a comprehensive analysis that disputes this sanguine view and reveals the stark truth about the troubling state of U.S. manufacturing competitiveness.

Watch a special interview with ITIF president Rob Atkinson on manufacturing