AP Photo/Susan Walsh

President Trump spoke a lot about America's manufacturing sector during an appearance today at a Boeing plant in South Carolina.

His message: U.S. manufacturing has been on the decline, but now it's coming back thanks to the Trump presidency. It's far too early to analyze the second half of Trump's message, but we do have data on the first half, and it's mixed:

Manufacturing jobs: The levels fell pretty drastically between 2000 and 2009, although they subsequently leveled off and even climbed a bit. The most recent unemployment rate in the manufacturing sector was 4.2%, which is lower than the overall unemployment rate of 4.9%. For context, manufacturing unemployment spiked at 13% in January 2010, easily topping the broader figure of 9.8%.

Manufacturing output: U.S. manufacturing output (i.e., the number of things produced) hit an all-time high in Q4 2016, just beating out a previous high from Q1 2008. Also at a high is manufacturing output per worker hours, which has been on a steady rise, outside of a downward blip during the Great Recession.

Takeaway: America is making more than ever before, but needs fewer people to do it. It's a trend that is likely to accelerate, regardless of Trump's policies, as manufacturers employ more advanced automation technologies.

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What Matters 2020

The missed opportunities for 2020 and beyond

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Jason Armond (Los Angeles Times), Noam Galai, Jabin Botsford (The Washington Post), Alex Wong/Getty Images

As the 2020 presidential campaign draws to a close, President Trump and Joe Biden have focused little on some of the most sweeping trends that will outlive the fights of the moment.

Why it matters: Both have engaged on some issues, like climate change and China, on their own terms, and Biden has addressed themes like economic inequality that work to his advantage. But others have gone largely unmentioned — a missed opportunity to address big shifts that are changing the country.

Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus

Marc Short with Katie Miller, Vice President Pence's communications director, in March. Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times via Reuters

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force.