American Manufacturing Is Alive And Well, There’s No Need To Try And Save It

Sep 03, 2014

Like all journalists who write about economics my inbox fills up with strident missives from this group and that, all insisting that American manufacturing is in a dire state and something must be done to rescue it. The “what” ranges from more investment in education, demands for greater union involvement (while I understand the desire for that, those demands tending to come from union backed groups, I do fail to see how that would help manufacturing, rather than unions), all the way through to an insistence that we’ve got to have trade barriers because “America doesn’t make anything any more”.

The truth is rather different though: there’s nothing wrong with American manufacturing at all. Indeed, far from the US not making anything any more manufacturing production is at around and about an all time high. Yes, really, the country manufactures more than it ever used to. As proof of that here’s the manufacturing index from FRED (the truly great economics statistics database at the St Louis Fed):

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