When it comes to the manufacturing sector in the U.S., it's not quite "Happy Days Are Here Again," as some have been singing for the past few years. Once you look closely at the data, it's more like "Those Were the Days."
That's because since the Great Recession, manufacturing is down 3.2 percent, according to an eye-opening report by the nonpartisan Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF). It notes there are now 15,000 fewer production facilities in the U.S. than in 2007—and 2 million fewer jobs.
A look at the numbers suggests that the rallying cry about a manufacturing renaissance has been wishful thinking among many industry trade groups and economists. Even favorable shifts in a host of factors, including labor costs, the shale gas boom, transportation costs and the weak U.S. dollar, hasn't revitalized the sector to its post glory days.