116 online
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 53 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/5/19

The Manufacturing Job Increase: Back to the 50s?

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   No comments
Message Frank Stricker

Hub Factory (MSA)
Hub Factory (MSA)
(Image by MissouriStateArchives)
  Details   DMCA

I think that our president believes that manufacturing jobs are booming and that he is the reason why. Are they and is he right? Not so much. Manufacturing jobs have increased in the last two years, but we cannot steal enough manufacturing from other nations that American manufacturing again had as much weight in the labor force as it did in the 1950s or the 70s or, probably, even the 90s. Nor will job-killing automation will stop.

Start with the numbers. Here are the changes in total manufacturing jobs over two-year periods since 2010, when the recovery from the Great Recession was beginning. These numbers are for production and non-supervisory employees, who are 70% all of persons in manufacturing.

Increase in Manufacturing Jobs 2011-2019 Jan. 2011 -

Jan. 2011 - Jan. 2013 289,000 additional jobs 3.6%

Jan. 2013 - Jan. 2015 226,000 additional jobs 2.7%

Jan. 2015 - Jan. 2017 25,000 additional jobs 0.3%

Jan. 2017 - Jan. 2019 311,000 additional jobs 3.6%

The third two years were the worst, partly because of sluggish economic growth and that was partly due to a slowing world economy. But economic growth and job adds picked up in 2017 and 2018, in part due to a one-time boost from the Republican tax cut. It is doubtful that other administration policies had a net positive effect. New tariffs protect some factories but cause others to lose access to suppliers and spark retaliatory tariffs that hurt workers at exporting factories and farms.

It is important to examine long-term numbers to answer the jobs question. The numbers are discouraging, perhaps worse than you thought. In the last twenty years, from 1998 through 2018, the number of manufacturing employees fell by 27%. That's absolute numbers. It's even worse if you think about the relative weight of manufacturing jobs within the total work force. Whilst manufacturing job totals have often declined, total jobs in America are always increasing, except in recessions. As the manufacturing work force fell by 27%, the private sector non-farm work force grew by 25.8%. So the manufacturing share plummeted.

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Must Read 1   Valuable 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Frank Stricker Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Emeritus Professor of History, Labor and Interdisciplinary Studies, California State University, Dominguez Hills; board member of National Jobs for All Network.
Author of American Unemployment: Past, Present, and Future (University of (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Poverty Down, Jobs Up, Everyone Earning More: What's Not to Like? A Father and Son Discuss the News

The Holidays: Arguing about Good Jobs with the Family

Republican Tax Cuts Are Not About Economic Growth or Lifting Working-Class Incomes

The Crummy Good Economy and the New Serfdom

The Gig Economy: How Big, How Bad? Part I: The Numbers

Want to Fix Social Security? Push Democratcs to Do the Right Thing and Vote for Democrats

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend