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Manufacturing Employment Down for Third Month in a Row
Howard Richman, 6/7/2013

According to the employment survey statistics released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, manufacturing employment fell in May for the third month in a row, down from 11,988,000 in February to 11,967,000 in May.

The graph below shows that manufacturing employment has generally been rising from the depths of the Great Recession of 2008-2009, though the recovery has been small, compared to the number of jobs lost during the Great Recession:

ManufacturingEmployment0513.gif

The fall in manufacturing jobs is likely to become a trend due to:

  • the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement which lets South Korea manipulate exchange rates in order to run ever larger trade surpluses with the United States.
  • Japan's recent decision to artificially reduce the exchange rate of the yen in order to give a boost to its manufacturers at its trading partners' expense.
  • China's continuing strategy of putting barriers to U.S. products while manipulating the dollar-yuan exchange rate in order to maintain its huge trade surplus with the United States.

Many U.S. economic problems stem from the loss of middle-class manufacturing jobs, including the high unemployment rate, the falling workforce participation rate, the falling median income, and the growing income disparity. The Obama administration could require trade reciprocity under WTO rules through a scaled tariff, but has not even threatened to do so.

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Comment by Bruce Curtis, 6/28/2013:

What's your opinion on U.S. legislation that has strong "Buy America" requirements in its verbiage (such as the Water Resources Development Act which is now before Congress for consideration)?  For example, the currently proposed language in the WRDA (which by the way was recently passed overwhelmingly by the Senate) stipulates that if Federal taxpayer dollars are to be used to help underwrite the costs of a Water and/or Wastwater infrastructure project to be built in the U.S. for a public Utility, then the public Utility who is receiving these funds must give preference for iron & steel products that are to be used on these projects to those that are solely made in the USA.  Won't this help stimulate increased employment in the U.S. manufacturing sector for these kinds of products - let alone the contrstruction & service industry that supports this particular market?




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