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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

US Manufacturing Jobs Have Rebounded...Back to Pre-WWII Levels

I read some pretty amusing articles.  One in particular claiming that US manufacturing is entering or in the midst of a renaissance among rebounding employment Link Here.  Ok, I took the bait.  Since the article was short on detail and long on anecdotes, I thought I'd do a little homework. 

Turns out during the great recession of '09-'10, manufacturing jobs fell to a low of 11.3 million (a level not seen since the late 1930's) and have now rebounded to 12.3 million...12.3 million manufacturing jobs is the same # of total manufacturing jobs the US had as of July 1941 just prior to the US entrance to WWII and a massive manufacturing mobilization effort.  The real caveat is that the working age (25-54yr/old) US population has more than doubled since pre-WWII.  Manufacturing employment peaked in 1979 at 19.6 million and has generally been falling since.  So, rising available population with falling available manufacturing employment...not ideal!

Or if we look at manufacturing employment as a ratio of the 25-54yr/old core population, we see the ratio has been falling since 1970, bottomed in 2010 and has ever so slightly improved since (partly thanks to more manufacturing jobs and equal part shrinking 25-54yr/old US population).

Anyway, I guess "renaissance" is in the eye of the one man's renaissance is another's depression.  Just depends if you prefer story telling or punching a few keys to come up with hard data.


  1. gross incompetence, mismanagement, and/or mal intent from those entrusted to protect, defend, and enhance the american ways of life

  2. Is that a plot of jobs per workforce member, as labeled, or of workforce members per job?

    1. Total US population of 25-54yr/olds divided by total number of manufacturing jobs...or more simply put, 1 in every 10 workers in the 25-54yr old population works in was about 1 in 4 in the up to the 1970's

  3. Hi Hambone, I don't think the average Joe knows how to interpret anything 'off message'. This is the log jam, in my opinion. I am writing a blog to address this. Have a think. Have a look and point people that way, should you wish too.
    Feel free to edit this comment.


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