Americans are used to being No.1 in nearly all the world’s businesses, and athletic endeavors. The foundation of that certainly began to erode in the 1970’s, when much of America’s manufacturing industry started to move overseas. Many U.S. companies wanted to cut costs, including high-priced manufacturing jobs. That contributed to the rise of the Japanese and, more recently, the Chinese economies.
As U.S. manufacturing eroded, so did other critical parts of society. American children are no longer the best educated in the world. America’s health care system no longer produces the healthiest population. US GDP no longer grows as quickly as it once did, particularly in the recoveries that follow recessions. China now has the fastest growing large economy in the world. It has passed Japan into the No.2 spot and economists are forecasting how long it will take to pass the US.
America was known for the better part of the last century as the single greatest producer of food for the world. The country still leads in the production of many commodities, but improved farming practices and more advanced seed have allowed the yield per acres in countries like Russia, China Russia and Vietnam to rise.
This is the 24/7 Wall St. analysis of “Ten Industries In Which The US Is No Longer No.1.” Whether this list will grow depends on how quickly the American economy improves and whether business innovation continues to increasingly come from overseas. America now fights to remain competitive globally with one hand tied behind its back. The current deficit, growing national debt, lack of government capital for R&D and unemployment all contribute to a crippled economy. Each of these make it harder for the US economy to regain the ground it has lost over the past few years.
U.S. auto manufacturing has long been considered not only one of our most critical industries, but is representative of American industrial power . The U.S. is the second largest manufacturer of cars and light vehicles after Japan, which is the headquarters of Toyota (NYSE: TM), Honda (NYSE: HMC), Nissan and Mazda. The American auto industry nearly collapsed in 2008 after years of extremely high labor costs and falling market share in domestic sales. GM (NYSE: GM) and Chrysler went through bankruptcy with extensive federal government support. Ford (NYSE: F) was strong enough to avoid having to ask for government handouts. The U.S. is not only the second largest manufacturer of cars; it is also the second largest car market by sales. China passed America in this metric in 2009. Japanese automakers made 17 million cars in 2009 compared to 12 million made by US companies.
US beer production in 2000 was the greatest in the world, generating 232 million hectoliters, versus second-place China’s 220 million. In just nine years, the People’s Republic has roughly doubled its production output to 423 million hectoliters. American output has actually decreased to 229 million. Per capita consumption in China is relatively low at less than half of the level in the U.S. However, China has a drinking population four times larger and has created an industrial capacity in the beer sector that has allowed the country to pull far ahead of the US.