In some ways, the whole narrative that manufacturing is disappearing is flawed, Hicks says. Manufacturing, like most other industries in America, has modernized and become more sophisticated over the decades. To be sure, it employs millions fewer people than it did in the past. But manufacturing still makes up about 12.5 percent of America’s gross domestic product, the same as it did in 1960. People who can work in modern manufacturing—those with computer skills and advanced degrees—are in demand. The average manufacturing worker now makes $26 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.