In January, the U.S. Business and Industry Council released a report, “Import Penetration Rises again in 2011; Challenges Manufacturing Renaissance, Insourcing Claims,” by Alan Tonelson. According to the report, "the share of U.S. markets for advanced manufactured goods controlled by imports reached another all-time high in 2011… and domestic manufacturing’s highest value sectors keep falling behind foreign-based rivals.”

The USBIC report shows that “imports captured 37.57% of the collective $2.01 trillion American market in 2011 for a group of more than 100 advanced manufactured products,” up from 37.07% in 2010. When government data to calculate import penetration rate were first issued in 1997, “imports controlled 24.49% of substantially the same group of U.S. manufactured products.”

“Fully 29 of the 106 sectors for which reliable data were available featured import penetration rates of 50% or more in 2011. In 2010, 31 of these industries had lost half of their home U.S. market to imports, and in 1997, only 8 of the 114 sectors initially studied were in this situation.”

Between 1997 and 2011, 98 industries lost shares of their home market while only eight gained shares. The industries that gained shares are: “semiconductor machinery; saw mill products; paperboard mill products; motor vehicle stamping operations; transformer, inductor, and coil manufacturing; electron tubes; computer storage devices; and heavy duty trucks and chassis.”

The 98 industries include: “semiconductors; electro-medical apparatus; pharmaceuticals; turbines and turbine generator sets; construction equipment; farm machinery and equipment; mining machinery and equipment; several machine tool-related categories; and ball and roller bearings.”

The report states that “from 1997-2011, output fell in 38 of the 106 total industries studied over this time span – nearly 36% of the total. These ‘declining’ industries include electricity measuring and test instruments; relays and industrial controls; motors and generators; motor vehicle engines and engine parts; several machine tool-related categories; and environmental controls.” In 11 more sectors, output growth was less than 10%, “including semiconductors; semiconductor production equipment; motor vehicle transmission and power train equipment; miscellaneous industrial machinery; and medicinals and botanicals.”

Tonelson writes, “High and rising import penetration rates for this many critical domestic industries over nearly a decade and a half represent powerful evidence of chronic, significant weakness in domestic manufacturing.”