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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
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