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.

Category: Cycles, Data Analysis, Employment

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

8 Responses to “Manufacturing Jobs 2003-2013”

  1. mathman says:

    To Mr. Bruce Steinberg (of the Wishful Thinking School of Hope):

    Where did you get this fictitious chart? Since when have “we” meaning EVERYONE been out of the recession? What wealthy subdivision do YOU live in? If you’re going by the idiotic stock market, at least balance it with an honest look at the CPI (not the new “made-up” one either). Why don’t we do one using Shadow Stats (you know, ACTUAL) information instead of this one from propaganda central? How are you weighing jobs with low to unliveable wages to the few good ones left (given temporarily to those who are following the corporate path) and getting a chart like that? Or is it a chart of how the wealthy are “recovering” while the rest of us wither away in austerity?

    It’s not merely the number of jobs, it has to do with overall wages being woefully inadequate for keeping up with inflation, a government wholely bought out by the banking sector, and having absolutely no interest in anyone other than those in the 1% to .001%.

    “Tanks fer nuttin’! ”
    (Maggie, Caddyshack)

  2. CSF says:

    According to the Federal Reserve, industrial production is nearly back (98.6%) to the highs of 2007. Many industry groups are back to those highs, while construction lags at a little over 81.9% of 2007 levels.


    The manufacturing renaissance is in productivity and earning, not jobs. Blame the recession, blame globalization, and blame technology, but like the Boss said, [some of] those jobs are gone, boys, and they ain’t coming back.

  3. BennyProfane says:

    Yeah, you have to laugh, especially during this last campaign, when the myth of a second coming of thousands of workers streaming into well paid middle class factory jobs was either coming back, or, if those same politicians and elites (who never have even seen a factory floor outside of a campaign stop) just tweaked a few policies, and, ouila, your grandfather’s union assembly line gig was there for the taking by every high school grad. Never happen. We killed that a long time ago. Now we’re killing the cube dwelling jobs at a rapid pace. Wouldn’t have mattered if there was a recession or financial crash in the last decade, that train left the station and is never returning.

  4. Angryman1 says:

    Yup, those jobs gone ain’t in Asia either. They are just gone gone. Automated away.

  5. leveut says:

    Curious. If you look at the blue line for manufacturing jobs and take the straight section from where the blue arrow points (early 2006), to approx Jan 08 where the darkened area for “recession” begins, and extend that to the right, that extended line hits the blue line for current manufacturing jobs about now, Spring 2013.

    It is also curious in that context that the blue manufacturing jobs line after Jan 2010 appears to have hit a plateau around the middle of last year.

  6. drewburn says:

    I suspect we may be a real turning point. Manufacturing will never be what it was, job wise, but. I can tell you, feet on the ground, that in the heartland companies are already having trouble filling jobs even low skilled ones. Agriculture used to be a huge portion of our employment. It is only about 5% today……but, it has remained fairly steady for decades. I suspect, given demographics, that manufacturing still have a big push force on wages: it’s not outdoors work, it’s not pleasant work. And, frankly, wages have been pushed down to near minimun wage. Even Detroit isn’t paying NEAR the premiums to minimum wage they used to (it used to be well over $15, now it’s maybe $6.) Good thesis for some economics grad student.

  7. kaleberg says:

    Actually, we’ve been losing manufacturing jobs as a percentage of overall jobs since 1900 if the data can be believed. Remember, the 1930s depression was built on the incredible rising productivity of the 1870-1920 manufacturing sector which didn’t raise wages enough to keep up demand.