Sign Up

8 Facts: Manufacturing’s Shrinking Share of U.S. GDP

Americans have traded jobs in manufacturing for jobs in the service sector.

January 14, 2015

Richard Saxon -

1. The U.S. manufacturing sector accounted for 12% of U.S. GDP in 2012, according to the World Bank.

2. By comparison, manufacturing contributes about 16% of world GDP.

3. Manufacturing’s share of GDP is highest in East Asia, where it is responsible for 31% of GDP.

4. It is lowest in Sub-Saharan Africa, where it contributes only 9% to that region’s GDP.

5. The U.S. manufacturing sector had its peak — accounting for 28% of GDP — in the 1950s.

6. Over the next several decades, the U.S. economy evolved into a largely services-based economy.

7. Services — everything from haircuts and car repairs to legal advice and medical treatment — now account for almost 80% of U.S. GDP.

8. The services sector also accounts for about 80% of U.S. jobs.

Sources: World Bank and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Americans have traded jobs in manufacturing for the service sector.

The U.S. manufacturing sector peaked in the 1950s. It has been on the decline since then.

Since the decline of the manufacturing sector in the US, the service sector has risen to dominate the economy.