One of the most encouraging aspects of the U.S. economic recovery is the halo effect on manufacturing, which accounts for 1 in 6 private-sector jobs. Yet a new study is dismissing that renaissance as little more than a "myth."
The report by the nonpartisan Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington-based think tank, asserts that the sector's growth has been fueled in part by free trade advocates and government statistics that mask a sharp decline in manufacturing activity since 2000. The foundation says manufacturing's recovery has been merely tepid since the Great Recession ended in 2009.
"American manufacturing has still not recovered to 2007 output or employment levels," the study says.
"Moreover, the lion's share of growth that has occurred appears to have been driven by a cyclical, rather than structural, recovery, and as such may represent only a temporary trend."