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Small, One-Person Manufacturers Thrive As Large Manufacturers Falter

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Craft brewery

Tiny manufacturing facilities have been on the rise since the financial crisis, standing out in an industry that has been shedding its labor force in favor of automation and technological advancements to up production.

These one-person operations — typically run by the owner — often focus on making food, craft beer, toiletries and other niche products. The number of US food manufactures managed solely by the owner have almost doubled since 2004 while similar tiny beverage and tobacco makers have grown by 150%, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

The most recent Commerce Department data shows there were more than 350,000 manufacturing businesses in the US employing only the owner in 2014, up about 17% from 2004. At the same time the number of US manufacturing businesses employing many people is down 12% over the same period, suggesting the tiny-business model may become a larger part of American manufacturing business. [WSJ]