Does a Dip in Pay Mean Doom for Manufacturing?

For a long time, manufacturing wages were some of the highest on average. However, recent reports have shown that manufacturing jobs aren’t paying as much as they used to. The National Employment Law Project (NELP) reports that over the last decade mean wages have fallen by 5%. This might not sound like much, but combine that with nearly 1.3 million fewer people employed in manufacturing, and the hit to the industry seems much more significant.

However, numbers suggest a resurgence in the industry. Since 2010, the manufacturing industry has grown by at least 4% annually. The recent interest and investment from the White House has prompted growth in the manufacturing sector, although the positive effects aren’t yet significant. Positive growth in the industry is a good starting point, however the report from NELP says, “the jobs that are returning are not the ones that were lost: wages are lower, the jobs are increasingly temporary, and the promised benefits have yet to be realized.”

This is to be expected. If initiatives to revitalize manufacturing were wishes carried out by genies, then we could expect U.S. manufacturing to be the bustling, booming industry it once was. The pay scale would return to its former height, and we would only have two wishes left. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

The fact that manufacturing is showing growth is a good sign. Even though the jobs lost aren’t being recreated, there are new jobs, that have been created which show that we have learned from fall of manufacturing. Benefits promised have to be fulfilled, but ideally that is something that will happen in time.

There’s an attitude that manufacturing is doomed, and that there isn’t really any type of resurgence in place. This idea stems from data from the past decade, so it’s not unfounded; however, it doesn’t take into account the recent efforts to revitalize the industry. We can’t know with certainty what manufacturing will look like a decade from now, but it certainly looks promising.