The evolution of US manufacturing | VOX, CEPR Policy Portal

Teresa Fort, Justin Pierce, Peter Schott 18 August 2020

Although it is well documented that US manufacturing employment has been falling since 1979, the causes of this trend are still unclear. This column argues that examining how and where the decline in US manufacturing employment occurs provides important insights in this regard. Using US Census Bureau’s Longitudinal Business Database, it highlights three important trends post 1979 which suggest substantial increases in labor productivity, and an evolution of US manufacturing in line with US comparative advantage.

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