Jan 17, 2018 - Economy & Business

Manufacturing jobs are up sharply from the recession

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Chris Canipe / Axios
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Chris Canipe / Axios

Manufacturing has now rebounded sharply from the Great Recession. The sector turned around last year after losing jobs in 2016, and economists say the trend seems to be continuing into 2018.

Why it matters: No one knows precisely why it's happening.

Jed Kolko, chief economist at Indeed, tells Axios it may be a weaker dollar, or a psychological boost from the 2016 election, in which President Trump said he would bring back manufacturing jobs.

  • If animal spirits are part of the story, it may start with Republicans. "Many manufacturing industries are clustered in red states," Kolko notes, "and Trump led Clinton by 18 points among voters who work in manufacturing." 
  • But, but ... Kolko cautions that the gains might be short-lived: Apparel makers lost a higher portion of jobs than any industry last year. "And the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that manufacturing will lose jobs over the next decade — making it the only sector aside from the federal government projected to shrink," he said.
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