I often see the stat that US manufacturing employment has shrunk substantially over the last 50 or so years, usually accompanied by much wailing from the left (yes, the same people who criticized manufacturing work as dehumanizing 40 years ago).
The WaPo, via Hit and Run, says that US manufacturing output is at an all time high, and that the only way to reconcile these two is with technology and productivity. Which is certainly part of the story, and its refreshing to see someone telling this story and not trying to cast the manufacturing numbers as a reason to slam the borders closed against imports.
But isn't there also a measurement problem here? Eighty years ago, if a Ford Motor factory needed the windows cleaned, a Ford employee did it. If it needed the parking lot striped, Ford workers did it. When it needed the bathrooms cleaned at night, Ford janitors did it. Today, the same Ford factory needs its windows and bathrooms cleaned, but an outside service contractor likely does the work. In the economic statistics, haven't these workers migrated from "manufacturing" to "service" without anything real on the ground changing?