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Two important sets of economic statistics came out today that shed lots of new light on the health of American manufacturing. Unfortunately, little of it is especially encouraging. In fact, some of it’s pretty mystifying.

The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis issued its annual report on the growth rates of different sectors of the U.S. economy. The main manufacturing finding: Industry’s annual growth rate did pick up last year according to a measure called real value-added (which leads off the report, and which attempts to eliminate the double-counting of output that occurs when broader gauges fail to distinguish between final products on the one hand, and their parts, components, and other inputs on the other). Yet the acceleration from a 0.5 percent yearly expansion in 2016 to 2017’s 1.9 percent trailed that output increase of the economy as a whole – which improved from 1.5 percent to 2.3 percent. As a result, the economy became slightly more manufacturing light in 2017.

In addition, within manufacturing, growth leadership shifted dramatically. Whereas the non-durable goods super-sector outperformed its larger durable goods counterpart in 2016 (with the former’s real value-added improving year-on-year by 1.2 percent while the latter’s slipped by 0.2 percent), durable goods rebounded to a 3.4 percent annual growth rate in 2017 while non-durables’ real value-added inched up by just 0.1 percent.

The American economy’s overall growth leader in 2017 in real value-added terms? The mining sector, which jumped by 8.5 percent after plummeting by 13.3 percent the year before. The next fastest-growing industries were administrative and waste management services (4.9 percent), corporate management (4.6 percent), and information services (four percent even).

Today’s second data set (from the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics) shows which sectors within manufacturing last year excelled in terms of labor productivity (the narrower of economists’ two main measures of efficiency), and which lagged and, once more, many of the results were surprising. (We already know that industry in toto had a dreary labor productivity year last year.) For instance, computer and computer peripheral equipment led the way last year, generating eleven percent more output per employees hour worked. But next came apparel knitting mills, at 10.5 percent, followed by agriculture, construction, and mining machinery at 10.4 percent, and cutlery and handtools at 9.4 percent.

The biggest productivity loser in 2017? Miscellaneous transportation equipment, where it nosedived by 11.5 percent. In ascending order, the next worst performers were electric lighting equipment (down 9.2 percent), sugar and confectionary products (down eight percent), and beverages (down 7.8 percent).

Other manufacturing sectors whose labor productivity worsened on year in 2017? Pharmaceuticals and medicine (down seven percent), metal-working machinery (which includes machine tools – and where labor productivity declined by 1.3 percent), communications equipment (down 2.2 percent), semiconductors (down 0.7 percent), motor vehicles (down 4.1 percent), and aerospace products and parts (down 3.1 percent).

And if you’re thinking that this list of productivity losers includes lots of so-called industries of the future, you’re of course right. Kudos also if you’ve noted that aerospace is the economy’s biggest trade surplus industry. It’s enough to instill a little humility in those of us who think we’re getting a handle on this gargantuan, complex American economy, or heighten for those who had some already.