Manufacturing Jobs Down as Overall Job Numbers Rise

U.S. manufacturing lost 18,000 jobs, while the overall economy gains 38,000

The economy added 38,000 jobs earlier this year, while manufacturing lost 18,000 durable and non-durable jobs, according to the latest employment data from the Labor Department. One reason driving these job losses was the goods and services trade deficit, which hit $37.4 billion in April, up $1.9 billion from $35.5 billion in March, according to the US Department of Commerce. The goods trade deficit with China hit $26.6 billion. Said Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) President Scott Paul: 

Scott Paul“Today's job numbers are shocking, but they come as no surprise to America's factory workers. While other sectors have seen forms of recovery, manufacturing has only seen about 40 percent of its pre-recession jobs come back - and this month only brought more job losses. In what has become routine for manufacturing, the overall economy didn't see much growth either. With only 38,000 overall jobs gained last month, it is clear why America’s middle-class continues to grapple with unemployment and low-paying career substitutes amid a surging trade deficit. 

"The bottom line is that America's workers are struggling and monetary policy adjustments can only go so far to help the goods-producing sector. It’s way past time for Congress to step up to the plate and deliver an investment-driven agenda, and for the President to reprioritize his trade agenda to focus on reducing subsidized imports from China and other countries.”

Comparisons between the manufacturing data of 2013 and 2016 reveal the growth and loss trends for some of the most industrious countries. While we observe a net percent loss in the United States, Western Europe and even China, we see growth in Eastern and Central Europe and South America. Whereas U.S. manufacturing has not met its ultimate end, it continues to suffer declining trends in its employment and trade agenda. Despite these trends, there is hope that the labor force is primed to rebound.

Worldwide, the growth sectors are in South America, and Eastern and Central Europe, with some growth in Africa. North America, the US and Canada, have grown in the percentage of manufacturing from 2013, which reflects some on-shoring by manufacturers eager to protect intellectual property, worried about consumer backlash from worker abuse in Asia and elsewhere, and a need to reduce logistics costs by being closer to markets.

2013-2016 Comparisons

New hope for U.S. Manufacturing

325,000The #AAMeter, which tracks President Obama's goal to create 1 million new manufacturing jobs, now sits at more than 325,000 jobs. That means there would need to be over 84,000 new manufacturing jobs created each month for Obama to hit his goal. Despite these daunting numbers, MFG Watch remains optimistic. The MFG Watch Report and Forecast analyzed the results of 2015 and potential for 2016.

This report paints an overall positive picture for the U.S manufacturing industry in 2016. Based on their marketplace survey, "United States Sourcing professionals chose to source their parts predominantly in the United States (80%), China (35%), and Canada (20%)"

The surveys also revealed that in 2015, 67% of businesses maintained or increased work throughout the year. Meanwhile, only 13% of sourcing professionals had reshoring in 2015, which is a record low for the MFGWatch report. There may be hope after all for future employment in U.S. manufacturing.