Renewing U.S. manufacturing: Promoting a high-road strategy

Publication Date: February 2008

Publisher: Economic Policy Institute

Author(s): Susan Helper

Research Area: Labor; Manufacturing and industry

Type: Brief


Over the last decade, the United States lost manufacturing jobs at a stunning rate: 16% of its manufacturing jobs disappeared in just the three years between 2000 and 2003, with a further decline of almost 4% between then and now. This had been some of the best paying work in the country.

The decline of manufacturing has hurt the U.S. economy in ways that go beyond the loss of high-paying jobs. The nation faces significant challenges in maintaining its status as a leading innovator, in fighting global warming, and in rebuilding its deteriorating infrastructure. The United States will not meet these challenges without major changes in the way the economy works - including a revitalization of high-productivity manufacturing.