Saturday, May 28, 2011

A bit of a bright spot in manufacturing and exports?

While the numbers pale in comparison to overall job loss and continuing unemployment, over 200,000 jobs were added over the past year in the manufacturing sector. No administration has been able to match those figures in growth of manufacturing employment since Bill Clinton in 1998.  Here's a chart showing manufacturing job growth since 1997, via The Economist:

Growth in manufacturing jobs, in 1000s (charts jobs added, not totals)

According to the Commerce Department, manufacturing - which has been shrinking in this county over decades - is actually leading the recovery due to growing exports:
"The 200,000 jobs added in the past year have been concentrated in the durable goods sector, whose advance report on shipments and new orders for April will be released this Wednesday.  Exports of durable manufactured goods have jumped 13.1 percent over the year, with exports accounting for roughly 37 percent of the growth in shipments over the past year."
Overall economic news is still very bleak, but an uptick in the anemic manufacturing sector and some significant growth in our exports might well signal structural improvements in an economy that has been bleeding jobs overseas and been wildly imbalanced on the trade front for almost as many years as I can remember.

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