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June 2014

How to Measure New York’s Manufacturing Revival

If you could build a time machine, would you want to travel back to 1979 or 1953? For manufacturers who survived the 1970s, the last year of that difficult decade was when the total number of U.S manufacturing jobs peaked at 20 million. For industries that thrived during the “Happy Days” of the 1950s, the year 1953 was when the highest percentage of Americans (28%) worked in factories.
Today, plenty of pundits and economists are extolling America’s manufacturing revival. Reshoring is hot, and stories about Made in USA manufacturing are promising. As author Daniel Ikenson notes, however, the term “revival” implies that there was a decline. Yes, it’s true that modern-day manufacturing isn’t matching the metrics of 1979 or 1953. But did those numbers mean all that much to begin with?

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