There are actually quite a few ways to measure the respective manufacturing prowess of different countries across the globe.
One methodology is used by the United Nations, which recently released a report ranking countries by their manufacturing "value-add," which involves a calculus combining the actual physical number of intems produced, exchange rates and inflation to produce a total value-added number.
Under that approach, the UN says China remains the top manufacturer in the world, a spot it took from the United States in 2010. In 2013, China had a 23.2% share of global manufacturing value-add, the UN says, up from 18.9% in 2013.
The US remained in second place, but its share fell from 18.1% in 2010 to 17.2% in 2013. (See United Nations says China Remains Number 1 in Manufacturing, as US Stays in Second Place, but Share is Shrinking.)
However, the analysts over at MAPI - The Manufacturing Alliance looked at the data another way, determining the per capita manufacturing value-add for the top 15 countries worldwide, dividing total value-add as calculated by the UN by each country's respective population in 2013.
The results are as you see in the chart below.
As can be seen, on a per capital basis Germany by far dominates the ratings, with per capita value-add of about $9000 per person, well above the $7200 or so produced by number 2 South Korea. The US is in fourth place with a little over $6000 per capita, while China i in 10th place at about $1900 per person.
Maybe the US should pay as much attention to Germany and South Korea's success as it does to China's.
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