The idea is completely wrong.
True, the U.S is offshoring or giving up low-value-added production. And the remaining sector employs fewer people. But the remaining sector still "contributes 22% of global manufacturing output and ranks third, behind Germany and China, as a manufacturing exporter, with an 8.1% market share."
That is one of the exciting facts coming from "US Manufacturing: Still the One," a report by Turner Investment Partners in Pennsylvania.
Want ore good news? "U.S. manufacturing exports increased by 60% from 2000 to 2008." And the value of manufactured exports are almost 10 times as much as agricultural exports (57% vs. 6%).
But that is still good news for rural entrepreneurs. Manufacturers are hiring fewer people, because technology has made factories so efficient, but we still have a base of potential customers that make stuff.