Visualizing the demise of manufacturing

While many still believe that Manufacturing (or Industry) is key to value creation, it is very obvious that since the 1980’s, Services have gained preeminence in the economic world.

Some interesting graphs in this post: Charting The Incredible Shift From Manufacturing To Services In America, show how the employment market has deeply shifted.

Moreover, more and more people do not appear in these statistics now, because they are ‘self-employed’! Which is definitely a global trend nowadays.

Even more striking is this graph from the Fourth Revolution book: it shows the composition of the top 100 companies in the US over time. What do we observe? Suddenly from 1985 onwards, Service companies have become the vast majority of the biggest companies.

How Services have taken over from Manufacturing in 20 years
How Services have taken over from Manufacturing in 20 years

This is identified in the book as one of the precursors of the Fourth Revolution. Value has shifted dramatically. Manufacturing will become like Agriculture: necessary, but a small part of the economical value creation.

That might be hard to understand if you’re borne before 1970-75. Change your mindset. Value is not any more in manufacturing nowadays. And Apple recently overtook Exxon as the largest stock valuation in the world.

The Fourth Revolution is here. Today, value is created overwhelmingly elsewhere than in Manufacturing.