Manufacturing's U.S. Economic Share Continues To Decline

While mining and construction, the other two major components of the goods-producing sector of the U.S. economy, account for slightly larger shares of GDP than they did 10 years ago, manufacturing's share is smaller.

In 1995, manufacturing accounted for 15.9% of the overall economy; last year it accounted for just 12% of GDP, says Daniel J. Meckstroth, chief economist at the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI, an Arlington, Va.-based business and public policy research group. He's been running the GDP numbers, using recently released U.S. Commerce Department data for 1947 through 2005.

Within manufacturing, both durables and non-durables declined over the decade as a share of GDP. Manufacturing of durables, generally big-ticket items like autos, airplanes and appliances that are designed to last at least three years, fell to 7% of GDP in 2005 from 9.2% in 1995. Manufacturing of non-durables fell to 5% of GDP from 6.7%.

Within the goods-producing sector of the economy, mining's share of GDP increased to 1.7% from 1% during the decade, and construction's share of GDP increased to 4.8% from 3.9%.

Not surprisingly, the service sector of the U.S. economy grew even bigger during the decade, rising to 80.6% of GDP in 2005 from 78% in 1995.

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