Breaking Ground by Jeff Moad:
Last year, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce, investment in new manufacturing plant construction increased 25%. That compares to a decline of 6.5% in 2003 and an increase in 2004 of 9.7%
As we have noted earlier, the United States is by far the leading manufacturer in the world: Global Manufacturing Data by Country and Manufacturing and the Economy (Japan is second and China third and growing rapidly).
The mini-revival in new-plant development has been enough to slow what until recently had been a prolonged decline in the number of manufacturing plants operating in the U.S. Between 1997 and 2004, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the number of plants operating in the U.S. dropped by 10%. In 2005, however, according to DOL figures, the number of plants stabilized at around 336,000.
Even though the US manufacturing output has continued to increase those gains have come largely from improved efficiency as fewer workers (and fewer plants) are producing the increased output. The decrease in employment is a worldwide phenomonon: Manufacturing Job Losses: USA 2 million, China 15 million.