If you want to see one chart that illustrates why I’m deeply skeptical of the idea of structuring American economic policy around the promotion of manufacturing then check out these employment statistics out of mighty Germany. Germany is a more manufacturing-oriented economy than the United States, just as the economy of the Great Lakes region in the U.S. is more manufacturing-oriented than the economy of the Acela Corridor. But even in Germany, services employ the vast majority of people. And this isn’t just because of wage competition from China. Even in China there’s more services employment than manufacturing employment.
This, again, isn’t to say that America couldn’t have more manufacturing workers. Right now the economy continues to be severely depressed. Better policies will change that and boost employment across sectors. But the long-term trend toward manufacturing employment being a declining share of total employment exists across countries and if reversing the trend is your policy for long-term prosperity then your policy is doomed to fail.