The State of American Manufacturing

Here’s a letter I recently sent to The New York Times:

Gregory Cowles’ June 29 “Inside the List” item on Dave Eggers’ new book contains a factual mistake. Mr. Eggers claims that American manufacturing is in decline; it isn’t. Output is actually near a record high.*

And that record wasn’t set in the 1950s or the 1970s. It was set in 2008. As the economy continues to slowly recover, America’s manufacturers will soon break their own record for sheer output. In other words, U.S. manufacturing is quite healthy.

It is also good news that it takes far fewer workers to produce this deluge of goods than it used to. Freed by machines from having to toil on a factory floor, today’s children can grow up to instead be almost anything they want. The state of American manufacturing today should warm the hearts of young parents everywhere –as well as Mr. Eggers.

Ryan Young
Fellow in Regulatory Studies
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Washington, D.C.

*Data available from the St. Louis Federal Reserve’s FRED database,