Sep 21, 2019

Swing states Wisconsin and Pennsylvania lost the most factory jobs last year

President Trump speaks to supporters at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania. Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Pennsylvania and Wisconsin lost thousands of manufacturing jobs over the past 12 months, despite President Trump's claims that "assembly lines are 'roaring,'" Bloomberg reports, citing new regional data from the Labor Department.

Between the lines: Trump's "pledges to reignite the [manufacturing] sector are a cornerstone of his economic message," writes Bloomberg. The swing states were helpful to Trump's 2016 victory, and will be important in his run for a second term in 2020.

The big picture: Manufacturing has struggled in the U.S. over the last year, as the trade war with China rages on and global demand has slowed — "making some companies hesitant to invest," per Bloomberg.

  • "While data from the Federal Reserve showed some improvement last month, with production of goods increasing more than expected, the broader picture remains challenging," according to Bloomberg.

By the numbers, per new regional Labor Department data:

  • Wisconsin lost nearly 5,000 manufacturing jobs.
  • Pennsylvania lost another 8,000 factory positions.
  • But, but, but: Other Rust Belt states, including Michigan and Ohio saw gains in manufacturing jobs.
  • In total, the U.S has added 138,000 manufacturing positions in the past 12 months; however, only 44,000 jobs emerged in 2019, compared to the 454,000 in 2017 and 2018.

Go deeper: Trump approval in key Rust Belt areas rises despite slow economic growth

Go deeper

Business leaders spooked by Trump's manufacturing slump

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

American manufacturers rode a wave of optimism after President Trump took office, clinging to his promises to revive the industry and bring back jobs.

Yes, but: The politically important sector is being choked by his trade war with China, and business leaders tell Axios that the tariffs threaten to upend the economy if not addressed soon.

Go deeperArrowOct 6, 2019

Index tracking U.S. services sector activity falls to 3-year low

An index that tracks activity within the services industry fell to a 3-year low in September, while a gauge of hiring within the sector dropped to the lowest level since 2010, according to the ISM non-manufacturing activity survey.

Why it matters: It’s the latest indicator pointing to an economic slowdown in the shadow of a trade war between the world's 2 largest economies, following the 2nd straight month of contraction in the U.S. manufacturing sector. While the services industry is still growing, this is the first sign that the all-important services industry — which makes up a way bigger slice of the economy than manufacturing (about 70%) — is starting feeling the blow.

Go deeper: How the China trade war threatens U.S. manufacturing jobs

U.S. economy adds 136,000 jobs in September

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 136,000 jobs in September, while the unemployment rate fell even lower, from 3.7% to 3.5% — the lowest level since December 1969 — the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: While it's fewer than the 145,000 economists expected, the labor market continues to be the bright spot in the economy. The number may calm recession fears after a week that saw deterioration in manufacturing data and softening on the all-important services side of the economy.

DetailsArrowOct 4, 2019