Study Confirms Manufacturing's GDP Decline

By John S. McClenahen Daniel J. Meckstroth, chief economist at the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI, an Arlington, Va.-based business and public policy research group, has taken a look at the latest historical GDP numbers from the U.S. Commerce Department and, yes, they do show manufacturing's share of the U.S. economy decreasing each of the five years from 1998 through 2003. Manufacturing was 15.4% of the economy in 1998; in 2003 it was 12.7%, a drop of 2.7 percentage points. However, manufacturing was not the only "industry" showing a decline during the last five years, Meckstroth notes. For example, wholesale trade and transportation and warehousing, two industries that handle goods, edged downward 0.4 percentage points and 0.3 percentage points, respectively, he relates. In contrast, mining and construction, two non-manufacturing industries that Commerce considers to be goods producers, posted GDP share gains between 1998 and 2003, adding three-tenths of a percentage point and one-tenth of a percentage point, respectively.

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