Just The Facts

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

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

Credit: Richard Saxon - www.Flickr.com


  • 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.

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

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