The manufacturing industry got a huge boost from President Trump's election, with a groundswell of job gains during his first year in office. But the trade war with China has undone that progress, Axios Markets editor Dion Rabouin writes.
- Jobs in the sector have stalled out and turned negative in 2019.
Why it matters: Reviving American manufacturing was a central tenet of Trump's 2016 campaign. The industry's retrenchment shows how, like farmers, another Trump constituency is being punished by his trade war.
By the numbers: In Trump’s first 30 months as president, manufacturers added 499,000 jobs, some 314,000 more than were added in President Obama's last 30 months on the job — a 170% increase.
- That seemed to put Trump in position to fulfill a central campaign promise to "bring back" manufacturing jobs in the U.S. — jobs that Obama said would never return.
That progress has evaporated this year. Manufacturing employment has slowed, and in October employers cut jobs in the sector by the highest number in a decade.
- October's purge was blamed largely on striking auto workers, but it followed a clear trend.
- Over the last six months, manufacturing has lost a net 23,000 jobs, and average hours worked has fallen to its lowest level in eight years, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
- The number of people employed in the sector also remains well below the 2008 level.
What's next: Things will likely get worse before they get better, Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at tax and consulting firm RSM, tells Axios.
- More companies are starting to face higher costs from tariffs, and those that have already been affected are starting to cut back hours and lay off workers to compensate for the losses.