CHICAGO—Does manufacturing still matter? According toManufacturing Works: The Vital Link Between Production and Prosperity, the answer is "yes." The book makes a convincing case that the United States’ manufacturing base drives its prosperity.

To come to this conclusion, the book’s authors—Fred Zimmerman and Dave Beal—examined trends in all U.S. counties from 1977 to 1999. They then examined 704 counties more closely. That number was screened down to 232 counties that have significant concentrations of manufacturing.

The authors ultimately found that in counties where manufacturing was performing well, local economies were also doing well. However, where manufacturing trends were unfavorable, the local economies were not doing as well. They also discovered that economic success someArial comes with the presence of well-managed companies.

Even though only one of seven U.S. jobs is in manufacturing, as compared to one in three in 1960, manufacturing still matters and warrants more respect than it has been receiving. This is even more true given the fact that the average manufacturing job pays $41,293 vs. $26,533 for the average service job.