In manufacturing, fewer Americans are producing more. The output keeps growing, the employment numbers keep shrinking, and this spurs people to think about corn and soybeans. The same thing that happened to farming--which employs so few but produces so much--is happening to manufacturing.
But I’m not so sure that’s true. You’d think that if fewer people produced more, productivity would go up, right? It turns out that in manufacturing, productivity gains and employment numbers don’t seem to be inversely related. Consider Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris’ argument made in his book, Make It In America, published earlier this year.