US to China: Ours is Bigger

Two things jump out in this article about the the US manufacturing economy and the world’s greatest engineering school, MIT*.

First, that manufacturing as a percentage of US economic output is on a short-term rise, albeit a slight one, growing to 13% of the GDP in 2009 from 12% in 2002. (Annoyingly, this chart shows up only in the pay version of the online article.)

Second, in whole numbers, at $1.854 trillion, the US manufacturing output in 2009 actually was larger than that of China’s, which weighed in at $1.695 trillion. This backs up what proponents of US manufacturing have been saying all along: that the domestic manufacturing sector remains bigger — in this case, by some $159 billion — despite the general perception.

Ironically, the point of the article — that, as it did in the early 1990s, MIT has formed a blue-chip committee to study the role of manufacturing in the US economy — falls short by acknowledging no one knows whether the original study had any impact.

*Said with disdain appropriate of a University of Illinois graduate.
**GDP per World Bank figures.

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association ( He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow