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Bringing the Data: Lagging Manufacturing Job Growth Made Worse by Trade War

January 10, 2020

Not only is manufacturing job growth lagging the private sector, the ongoing U.S.-China trade war has generated added headwinds, especially in rust belt states.

Since the start of 2016, private sector employment has increased 7%, while manufacturing employment rose by less than 4% during the same period. Manufacturing job growth stagnated last year, likely a side-effect of the ongoing U.S.-China trade war (see chart). The latest national employment data showed manufacturing payrolls declined by 12,000 in December.

Percent Change in Employment From January 2016

Percent Change in Employment From January 2016


This could have political ramifications as many rust belt states, which helped deliver Trump the White House, were hit especially hard. The map below illustrates the percent change in manufacturing employment between November 2018 and November 2019 — states in red experienced declines.

Seeing Red: Biggest Decreases in Manufacturing Jobs

Percent Change in Manufacturing Employment Between November 2018 and November 2019

The deepest declines in manufacturing employment in the last year are spread across Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, Ohio, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont.

One other state that stood out: Oklahoma, which found the steepest manufacturing decrease, falling 3.3% between 2018 and 2019.

In December, the U.S. manufacturing index hit a 10 year low as the manufacturing recession continues to weigh on American workers.  This marks the fifth straight contraction in this widely watched index, which measures U.S. manufacturing health.

It is the softest reading since June 2009 — just as the U.S. was exiting the Great Recession.

Read Mike’s plan for an All-In Economy.

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