The world's top manufacturing country is the United States, and this has been the case since before World War II. In 2007, the United States' manufacturing output was $1.831 trillion US Dollars (USD). This is about 12% of the USA's entire gross domestic product (GDP), or $12,206 USD for every person in the 150 million-strong labor force. Still, the USA's output per capita is not the world's greatest — that honor goes to Japan.
Important goods manufactured in the United States include the following, in order of percentage of exports in 2007:
- production machinery and equipment, 31.4%;
- industrial supplies, 27.5%;
- non-auto consumer goods, 12.7%;
- motor vehicles and parts, 10.5%;
- aircraft and parts, 7.6%;
- food, feed and beverages, 7.3%;
- and other, 3.0%.
In 2007, the top manufacturing countries besides the United States were as follows:
- China ($1,106 billion USD),
- Japan ($926 billion USD),
- Germany ($670 billion USD),
- Russian Federation ($362 billion USD),
- Italy ($345 billion USD),
- United Kingdom ($342 billion USD),
- France ($296 billion USD),
- South Korea ($241 billion USD),
- Canada ($218 billion USD),
- Spain ($208 billion USD),
- and Brazil ($206 billion USD).
There is also a general correlation between how much a country manufactures and its total GDP. Depending on the percentage of their total economy taken up by manufacturing, a country's economic and political leaders may wish to take steps to adjust accordingly. For instance, the USA has been losing substantial ground to China in recent decades, meaning that US political leaders have an interest in increasing the total percentage of the country's GDP dominated by manufacturing.
Of all the leading manufacturers, the one that is growing the fastest economically is China. China's GDP grew by 22.59% in 2007, which was among the greatest GDP growth out of any country, made all the more impressive by China's huge size, with over 1.1 billion people. The country's leaders wish to reclaim China's position as the world's #1 manufacturer by 2020, and have engaged in an ambitious industrialization program to do so. Because much of China is still unindustrialized, China has considerable room for improvement, while the United States is already completely industrialized. China was once before the world's leading manufacturer — back in 1830, the country was responsible for 30% of the global industrial output.
There is much debate among economists about the various measures of manufacturing output and what they mean. For instance, there is gross total output, the total of all value added to manufactured goods throughout the manufacturing process, the per capita manufacturing output, the manufacturing output as a percentage of the GDP, and other measurements.