Manufacturing Employment Growth During President Trump

After Friday’s jobs report, we thought it is time to dig deeper into employment growth in the manufacturing sector.

Manufacturing Jobs Matching Growth In Total Nonfarm Payrolls

Contrary to popular belief, the data show that job gains in the manufacturing sector are not experiencing outsized growth.  Employment in the industry has grown at about same pace as private nonfarm payrolls since January 2017, just a little over 3 percent.  Manufacturing employment has, however, recovered smartly under President Trump, after a period of almost zero growth during the last 20 months of President Obama’s administration.

The bulk of manufacturing employment growth has occurred in food manufacturing, fabricated metals, and machinery.

Job Growth Still Lagging in The “Poster Children” – Steel and Autos

Job growth in the sector’s  “poster children”  — steel production and auto manufacturing — remains tepid, at best.

Employment in the steel industry (highlighted in red) has yet to match the spike in steel prices and profits, which have skyrocketed after the implementation of President Trump’s tariffs.

CLAIRTON, Pa. — When President Trump imposed tariffs on steel imports in June, Richard Lattanzi thought of dozens of his fellow steelworkers who have for years put off badly needed repairs of their cars and homes.

“There was a lot of excitement here; there were a lot of us saying, ‘It’s about time someone is looking out for us,’ ” said Lattanzi, the mayor of this town of 7,000 and a safety inspector at the U.S. Steel plant in nearby West Mifflin. “A lot of people around here were saying, ‘We’re going to be okay.’ ”

Four months later, Lattanzi is less optimistic. Production at U.S. Steel’s facilities have ramped up, and the company announced this summer that, thanks in part to the tariffs, its profits will surge. But in interviews in recent weeks, Lattanzi and other steelworkers said they’re no longer confident they’ll take part in the tariff bounty.  – Washington Post, October 3rd

Auto manufacturing jobs continue to decline, down 8,000 since the beginning of President Trump’s term.

Mining Employment And Oil Prices

Finally, where employment growth is experiencing outsized gains is in the mining sector, up over 16 percent,  which is almost entirely the result of the recovery in oil prices. The crude price collapsed over 70 percent before bottoming at around $30 bbl in early 2016, forcing mass layoffs in the oil patch, which are now being recovered.

Coal mining jobs, for example, have only increased by a little less than 2,000, but it does represent a reversal in the decline under President Obama.

Construction jobs are also growing smartly

 

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