A DECADE ago, as the US hemorrhaged manufacturing jobs, the federal government considered reclassifying fast food as a manufacturing industry. Sounds ludicrous? Today, with the manufacturing sector still ailing, the federal government wants to take something called “factoryless goods” and categorize the firms that make them as manufacturers.
As part of the plan, the government could also classify some foreign-manufactured goods as US exports. The change would help politicians make the case that domestic manufacturing is recovering, even if the assertion isn’t true.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis already defines “factoryless goods producers” as “business units that control the entire manufacturing process, including intellectual property, but that outsource all manufacturing transformation activities” to other nations. Firms fitting that description include tech giants such Apple, which shuttered many of its US manufacturing facilities years ago.