Manufacturing Jobs 2003-2013

U.S. Employment Situation (February 2013)

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Bruce Steinberg puts the past decade (or 5) of Employment data into a bigger context, detailing in particular the impact of Manufacturing Jobs:

“Manufacturing, which declined 16.6% or about 2,270,000 jobs, from January 2008 to January 2010, were up 4.3%, or about 500,000 jobs, from January 2010 from January 2013.

But, let’s put it into a little perspective and go back to 1945 when there were about 15.7 million manufacturing jobs, which represented about 37.4%  of all nonfarm jobs. In the 1950s, it was 30.4%; 27.4% in the 1960s, 23.0% in the 1970s, 18.5% in the 1980s, 14.8% in the 1990s, 10.9% in the 2000s, and 8.9% in the 2010s, which is the current level.

Interestingly, although the level had pretty much declined — there were a few exceptions when it rose — by a tenth of a percent every few months since 1945, it has remained unchanged at 8.9% since August 2009. (Incidentally, some research in the 1980s determined that some of the decline in manufacturing employment was due to manufacturers filling their jobs with workers from the services sector, such as temporary help services. However, the portion was relatively minor and did not materially affect the trend of declining manufacturing employment.)

The obvious point is that manufacturing jobs in the US have been in a secular decline since the end of World War II.

While there is a definite renaissance of manufacturing, and modest improvement in manufacturing sector jobs, we are nowhere near as dependent on the sector of employment.

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