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10 American Industries Still Hanging on For Dear Life

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US manufacturing is alternately described as "never better" or "never worse," depending on the political affiliations of whichever think tank or advocacy group happens to be behind the study.

However, there are certain industries with once-vibrant domestic production operations that simply can no longer compete in the new global economy.

In 2010, the last remaining American flatware factory shut its doors.

So did the nation's last sardine cannery.

Recent years have seen the shuttering of America's last coat hanger factory, last button down shirt factory, and the entire sheetrock-producing town of Empire, Nevada -- which just last month fell victim to the desiccated US housing market.

Back in February, James Jordan, president of the Interstate Maglev Project, told Louis Uchitelle of the New York Times that, "as manufacturing’s presence -- and status -- shrinks in America, the odds of a Henry Ford or a Thomas Edison or a Steve Jobs appearing in the next generation are reduced. Certainly people like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook are inventors, though not of physical products."

“Young people stop thinking about making things,” he said. “It is no longer in their heads. They have a different mental orientation.”

Bloodied, battered, but not yet down for the count, there are still pockets of US manufacturing scrappy enough to keep the lights on in the face of overseas competition:

10. BOWLING BALLS, Hopkinsville, Kentucky

9. SOCKS, Ft. Payne, Alabama

8.  PENCILS, Jersey City, New Jersey

7. COMPACT DISCS, Terre Haute, Indiana

6. SNEAKERS, Norridgewock, Maine

5. PIANOS, Queens, New York

4. SPARKLERS, Youngstown, Ohio

3. ELECTRICAL RELAYS, Florence, South Carolina

2. IRONING BOARDS, Seymour, Indiana

But a special place on the list must go to the next outfit, which is doing the old selling-ice-to-Eskimos bit:

CHOPSTICKS, Americus, Georgia

Short on wood, China is, yes, importing chopsticks from a little town just outside Atlanta.

No, seriously. Not even kind of kidding:

POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.