Aug 8, 2017

Workers choose to leave manufacturing as often as they are fired

The manufacturing sector holds an important place in our political imagination — the common wisdom is that the nearly 30% decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs since 2000 was a key factor in Donald Trump's rust-belt electoral success, for instance.

A subtext of this idea is that these manufacturing jobs are desirable, and American workers wouldn't give them up easily. But according to analysts at the St. Louis Fed, the rate at which workers are quitting manufacturing jobs, rather than getting fired, has remained steady even as the number of jobs has fallen.

Why it matters: The trend today is that manufacturing workers are quitting their jobs at an accelerating rate, suggesting they're leaving for better pay and working conditions in other fields. While the loss of manufacturing jobs has been devastating for many communities, it's also true that many workers will leave manufacturing if given the chance.

Data: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Go deeper

Why U.S. manufacturing and services are moving further apart

Data: Institute for Supply Management; Chart: Axios Visuals

While U.S. manufacturing has fallen into its deepest hole in a decade, the all-important services sector keeps chugging along.

What's happening: The Institute for Supply Management's gauge of the U.S. services sector yesterday produced a reading solidly in expansionary territory and above expectations. That was a far cry from the company's manufacturing index, which last week hit its weakest level since June 2009.

Go deeperArrowJan 8, 2020

A decline in business lending shows the impact of manufacturing's struggles

Data: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Chart: Axios Visuals

U.S. commercial and industrial lending fell by $9 billion in December, the largest drop in nearly three years, and the total amount of C&I loans declined to levels last seen in May, data from the St. Louis Fed shows.

Why it matters: The decline in lending to commercial and industrial businesses is the latest sign that the recession in U.S. manufacturing and continued struggles in goods-producing sectors of the economy are spreading. The Commerce Department reported that U.S. business investment had contracted for six straight months as of the third quarter, and had the biggest drop since the end of 2015 in Q3.

Go deeper: Manufacturing should bounce back in 2020

Keep ReadingArrowJan 15, 2020

An unsettling future for millions of American jobs

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. economy is besting expectations for job growth, and the unemployment rate is at its lowest in several decades — but the other side of the story is that millions of jobs out there just aren't good enough.

Why it matters: Almost half of all American workers are stuck in low-wage jobs that often don't pay enough to support their lives, lack benefits and sit squarely inside the automation bullseye.