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Trump’s Anti-Service Economy

Just as manufacturing companies comprised the most rapidly growing industries in an earlier era, services companies do today. But US President Donald Trump, with his fixation on old manufacturing industries, seems unable to grasp that.

WASHINGTON, DC – In the nineteenth century, more than 70% of American workers were farmers. By 2017, that figure was under 2%. In 1970, about 32% of private employment was in goods-producing industries. By 2018, that figure was 13.5%. The dynamic sectors of the American economy are in services, though US President Donald Trump, with his fixation on old manufacturing industries, doesn’t seem to have grasped that.

Just as manufacturing companies comprised the most rapidly growing industries in an earlier era, services companies do today. Many people – possibly including Trump – think of services as consisting of housecleaners, maintenance staff, and restaurant workers. But services include transportation, IT, finance, professional and business services, education, entertainment, and more. In the United States, the largest numbers of service employees are in transportation and utilities, education and health care, and business services. And that does not even include the self-employed.

In 2017, there were 12.4 million workers in the entire US manufacturing sector, compared to 20.6 million in business and professional services alone. Most observers categorize the economy’s most modern and dynamic activities – and many of its high-paying jobs – among the latter activities. Overall, service-producing employment constituted 70% of total private-sector employment.

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