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Infographic – Largest Ever U.S. Manufacturing Decline

Manufacturing output chart

Click on image for full-size view (Statista)

23 May 2020. One of the topics we cover regularly on Science & Enterprise is manufacturing, but that sector of the economy is taking a particularly hard knock right now. Earlier this month, the Federal Reserve, the U.S. central bank, released statistics showing in April 2020, manufacturing output dropped 13.7 percent from March, the single largest month decline the bank ever recorded.

The chart from business research company Statista released this week shows rather dramatically this abrupt drop. The Federal Reserve calculates changes in production output compared to 2012, an arbitrary base year. Declines of 10 percent or more were also recorded during the Great Depression in the 1930s and during the two world wars in the 20th century. In December 2008, during the economic meltdown that year, manufacturing dropped 3.5 percent.

Detailed data show car and truck makers took the largest hit in April, with reductions of 72 percent. But other industries also experienced substantial declines including textiles (-21%), apparel and leather goods (-24%), aerospace and miscellaneous transportation (-22%), and furniture (-21%). Computer and electronic products are among the fortunate few to show a sizable increase of 26 percent.

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