Animated chart of the day: World’s top ten manufacturing nations, 1970 to 2018

"1. The USSR was the world’s second-largest manufacturing nation from 1970 until it was surpassed by Japan in 1983, which rose to the No. 2 position.

2. After overtaking Russia in 1983, Japan quickly rose as a manufacturing powerhouse and almost overtook the USA by the mid-1990s including in 1993 when Japan produced 22.1% of world output vs. 22.9% for the USA and in 1995 when Japan produced 22.0% of the world’s manufacturing vs. USA’s 22.2% share.

3. China’s rise to become one of the world’s top manufacturers started in the mid-1990s after a long period of producing a fairly stable share of only 3-4% of the world’s factory output from 1970 to 1995. By 1996, China was out-producing both Italy and France for the first time and outproduced Germany starting in 2001 before surpassing Japan in 2007 and the USA in 2010.

4. Despite falling to the No. 2 position behind China in 2010, the USA is still a global manufacturing powerhouse and produced more manufacturing output in 2018 ($2.32 trillion) than No. 3 Japan, No. 4 Germany and No. 5 Korea combined ($2.27 trillion) and more than No. 4 Germany, No. 5 Korea, No. 6 India, No. 7 Italy, and No. 8 France combined ($2.26 trillion)."