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U.S. Manufacturing Continues to Create Jobs in the U.S.

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Guest blog post by Mark Doms, Department of Commerce Chief Economist, Economics & Statistics Administration

Earlier today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released a report showing that the private sector added 172,000 jobs last month, and overall employment rose by 163,000. While there’s more work to be done, the economy is creating jobs on a consistent basis. The economy has added private sector jobs for 29 straight months, for a total of 4.5 million jobs. In fact, since the beginning of the year, the economy has added over 1.1 million private sector jobs. Today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the deepest recession since the Great Depression.

Additionally, the BLS report also showed that the manufacturing sector continues to be a bright spot, which is especially important for middle class families, because these jobs pay high wages and provide high levels of benefits.

The good news is that the U.S. manufacturing sector’s recovery continues: 532,000 new manufacturing jobs have been created over the past 30 months, with 25,000 being added in July. In terms of production, manufacturing output is up 19.8 percent from the trough reached in June 2009.

A part of manufacturing that has been consistently strong is the motor vehicles and parts industry, which has added 165,000 jobs since June 2009. Further, production of cars and trucks in the U.S. reached 10.5 million units at an annual rate in June, a sharp contrast to the shockingly low level of 3.7 million units witnessed in January, 2009.  To continue the revival in manufacturing jobs and output, it is crucial that we implement President Obama’s proposals providing tax incentives for manufacturers, supporting training for the workforce, creating manufacturing hubs, and ending tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas and provide tax incentives for companies bringing jobs back to the United States.

One reason manufacturing has rebounded is because of the growth in U.S. exports. Between 2009 and 2011, manufactured exports jumped 36.4 percent ($292 billion). Exports have increased in nearly all categories, and exports of motor vehicles and parts have reached all time highs. This increase in exports is due to several factors, one being that our manufacturers have become more competitive. One measure of increase in competitiveness is productivity. According to the Department of Labor, manufacturing productivity increased 15.1 percent in the past three years.

The rebound in the manufacturing sector is critical if we want to restore the economic security for the middle class. Export markets have become increasingly important for our manufacturers: the number of companies exporting has increased and the share of exports coming from small- and medium-sized manufactures has been on the rise.

Through increased U.S. investment, we can build on this momentum and continue to create jobs and strengthen the economy. America’s middle class was built on the strength of its manufacturing sector, but today the middle class faces a make-or-break moment. That’s why President Obama has focused on boosting U.S. manufacturing—rewarding companies that create jobs here, taking away incentives for those who ship jobs overseas, expanding exports, supporting innovation, and rescuing the U.S. auto industry when it was on the brink of collapse—saving an estimated one million jobs across America.

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