Over the past decade, we have heard a lot about the perilous decline of manufacturing in the United States. Yet a review of key indices, adjusted for inflation, reveals an altogether different picture. For instance, hourly output has been rising at almost 5 percent a year for the past three years. The American worker is the most productive in the world, producing on average 10 percent more in goods and services than German workers and 20 percent more than their Japanese counterparts. In fact, U.S. productivity has been growing at an annual rate of 2.5 percent, more than twice as fast as the average between 1970 and 1990.