Are Manufacturing Jobs Coming Back to the U.S.?

Manufacturing employment in the United States has grown steadily for nearly a decade. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the manufacturing sector has seen growth since 2010, after plummeting in 2008 when increased automation and offshoring deflated the number of employees in manufacturing. The recent growth in manufacturing employment doesn’t necessarily mean that the jobs that left are returning, however. Instead, it’s new manufacturing jobs that are being created in different parts of the country and in different industries.

Manufacturing is recovering

A report released last month by Economic Innovation Group found that U.S. manufacturing employment increased for 82 out of the 100 months after January 2011. This trend has continued through 2019, with manufacturing employment higher than it’s been since 2008.

Job growth in this sector has surged and slowed, but there’s been a general trend upward for the past decade.

Over the years we’ve heard about reshoring and manufacturers bringing production back to the United States. Increasing manufacturing employment might suggest that these claims are true, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.

Old jobs aren’t returning

The industrial Midwest was hit the hardest by the disappearance of manufacturing jobs. However, it’s not the Rust Belt that’s benefiting the most with the recent increase in manufacturing jobs. Southern and Western states saw the most job growth: Nevada, Arizona, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Idaho, and Texas. North Dakota and Maryland also experienced manufacturing job growth at more than twice the national rate.

While manufacturing employment in the U.S. is trending upward, it appears that the jobs that left are gone for good. The positive numbers in manufacturing are due to new industries rather than old jobs returning to the U.S. According to the Economic Innovation Group report, technology companies along with craft wine and breweries are helping to drive the positive numbers.

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