Here's an indication of how the American economy has changed in recent decades: Once a powerhouse of the U.S. economy, making up about a quarter of GDP in the 1960s, the manufacturing sector has steadily declined in importance, and now represents its smallest share of the U.S. economy in 72 years.
Manufacturing made up 11 percent of gross domestic product in the second quarter, according to figures out from the Commerce Department last week. That's its smallest share in data going back to 1947, and down from 11.1 percent in the prior quarter.
It's also very telling what has replaced manufacturing as the stalwarts of our economy. The 11 percent for manufacturing compares with 13.4 percent for real estate, 12.8 percent for professional and business services and 12.3 percent for governments.