SANTORUM: ... When I grew up in Butler, Pennsylvania, a little steel town, 21 percent of the people of this country worked in manufacturing. It is now nine. If you want to know where the middle of America went, it went to China, it went to Malaysia, it went to Indonesia. We need to bring it back.Unfortunately, and as I've said here many times, this is flat wrong: the US manufacturing sector is producing more value today than it ever has (even in this nasty recession), but it's just doing so with fewer workers and as a lower percentage of total GDP.
HUNTSMAN: ... If we want to strengthen our core in this country, which we must do, the percentage of our GDP that is from manufacturing is down to 10 percent or 11 percent. When I was born, it was 25 percent. It used to mean something when you read “Made in America.” We don’t make things anymore in this country. We need to start making things in this country.
Our amazing industrial productivity, of course, is not isolated to the United States. In fact, it's happening pretty much everywhere on the planet (including China):
This, along with the growth of the US services sector, accounts for the historical decline of manufacturing's share of US GDP - something also happening everywhere else in the world:
noted a while back (quoting AEI's Mark Perry), a very similar thing happened to the US agriculture sector last century (and yet no one laments the "decline of American farming").
And, frankly, they should know better.