Far from being in a death spiral, the U.S. manufacturing sector is poised for a comeback. Maybe. Two recent studies, one by Boston Consulting Group and one by Booz & Co. in conjunction with the University of Michigan’s Tauber Institute for Global Operations, paint optimistic, if somewhat divergent, portraits of the future of “Made in the USA.” See how much you know about where domestic manufacturing stands now, and how vibrant it might be in the years ahead.
1) Last year, China accounted for 19.8% of global manufacturing on a value-added basis, while the U.S. accounted for:
2) From 2005 through 2010, wage increases for Chinese factory workers averaged 19% annually. Their U.S. counterparts saw wages increase annually by:
3) In 2000, factory workers in the manufacturing-centric region of the Yangtze River Delta averaged 72 cents per hour. According to BCG, within five years that hourly average will reach:
4) Even a marked reduction in the wage gap between Chinese and U.S. factory workers will still leave China with a sizable advantage. But since labor is just one component of overall cost, BCG projects that by 2015, while manufacturing a car part in China might yield a 39% cost savings in labor, total cost savings (before transportation, duties, and other costs) would be:
5) Between 1987 and 2008, how did productivity within the U.S. manufacturing sector compare with overall U.S. business productivity?
A. Grew 26% more slowly
B. Grew 4% more slowly
C. Grew 33% more quickly
D. Grew 65% more quickly
6) Which decade saw the most marked decline in U.S. manufacturing, as measured both by its percentage of global production and declining employment in the sector?
7) According to the Booz/University of Michigan study, what percentage of U.S. manufacturing jobs exists in subsectors of manufacturing deemed to be most vulnerable to job losses?
8) According to BCG, within five years the total cost of production for many manufactured goods will be only 10% to 15% less in China than in certain regions of the U.S., specifically:
A. The Great Lakes region
Answers: 1–B; 2–C; 3–C; 4–D; 5–D; 6–D; 7–D; 8–B