Many have complained about the decline of the manufacturing sector in the United States. As this graph shows, how recently this decline started depends on what you look at. If you look at the number of people employed in that sector, the decline started only a decade ago. If you look at the share of manufacturing in total employment, the steady decline has been ongoing for decades. For a nice overview of the evolution of employment in the manufacturing sector, see this article in the Journal of Economic Perspectives.
How this graph was created: Choose the MANEMP series to graph the line and add the MANEMP series again to create a ratio with the PAYEMS series. (Use the "create your own data transformation" feature to enter the formula.) The units for both series are very different, so be sure to use the left y axis for one set of units and the right axis for the other.
Suggested by Christian Zimmermann