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Are America’s days as top dog numbered?

Marketplace Staff May 24, 2007


BOB MOON: You see “made in China” on all sorts of products. So it may surprise you to know that the U.S. is still number one in the world when it comes to manufacturing.

But the research group Global Insight says we only have 12 years left as the world’s top dog. Jeremy Hobson has more.

JEREMY HOBSON: Right now, according to Global Insight, the United States is responsible for about one-quarter of global manufacturing output. Same with Western Europe. China has a share of about 12 percent. But that is all changing, which is no surprise to Global Insight senior economist Prem Premakumar.

PREM PREMAKUMAR:We have been forecasting this for several of the last quarters.

According to the most recent forecasts, China’s share of global manufacturing will surpass the U.S. by the year 2020. But, says Premakumar, eventually China’s growing economy will cause its manufacturing sector to slow down.

PREMAKUMAR: China will start producing more and more for its own market rather than for the U.S. market. Therefore it will take the pressure off the U.S. gradually, rather than increase the pressure on U.S. manufacturing.

Premakumar says America’s big strength going forward will be in new innovative products, especially in the areas of high tech and health. In Washington, I’m Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

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