There is extreme interest in the potential for a revitalization of the US manufacturing sector, an interest coming to a crescendo of sorts this week at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where a major two-day conference on the Future of US Manufacturing was held. The sell-out event included a powerful list of speakers, including US Commerce Secretary John Bryson and a number of crporate executives, and featured excellent MIT research on the topic.
The graphic below was presented by MIT's Olivier de Weck, who has been leading a significant research project on US manufacturing and its impact on the overall economy - including the interesting question of whether the US could be successful as an "innovation economy" only, where very little in manufactured here.
The chart shows the level of "value add" for domestic manufacturing across a number of countries, and perhaps contrary to some perceptions, the US continues to both lead the world in this metric and enjoy a steady path of growth.
Note how Japan caught the US in the mid-1990s, but has been left in the dust by US ever since.
Source: Olivier de Weck, MIT
That said, obviously China has risen like a rocket in terms of manufacturing value-add, increasing at an incredible pace since about 2001, and is likely to overtake the US in this measure veery soon.
Where do we go from here? That is the question on the table at MIT and elsewhere.
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