For all the talk about automation and offshoring supposedly draining the amount of jobs
available in American manufacturing,
the numbers don’t quite agree.
According to the U.S. Bureau of
Labor Statistics (BLS), the total count
of U.S. manufacturing employees
has been rising steadily for the past
seven years (see chart). The problem
is, that increase has been glacially
slow. Manufacturing employment hit
a modern lowpoint of around 11,400
during the first quarter 2010, and has
improved during the vast majority of
the 93 months through the end of 2017.
But those gains have been incremental.
During that seven-year stretch, U.S.
manufacturing employment has risen
by only about 1,100 to a preliminary
January 2018 mark of 12,555,
according to BLS February data.
Even with the Trump administration’s
considerable cuts in manufacturing
regulations and overall message of
“Buy American, Hire American”,
the pace of U.S. factory job gains
remained essentially the same as it
was throughout the final seven years of
the Obama administration. February’s
manufacturing employment number
is at the same mark the U.S. was at
But At A Snail’s Pace
during 1946 when it was winding down
following World War II.
Nevertheless, any job gains in this
industry are a positive, and the numbers
show that the “manufacturing jobs are
disappearing” rhetoric is inaccurate.
While some jobs indeed have been
eliminated, new ones continue to be
created at a conceivably faster pace.
By Mike Hockett