U.S. Still 2.1 Million Manufacturing Jobs Fewer Since Recession Began

Manufacturing employment in the U.S. shrank by more than 2.1 million jobs between 2007 and 2012, a period that covers the start of the recession and the subsequent economic "recovery," according to a new report from the Census Bureau.

The dismal numbers provide new data about the relatively slow and fitful economic recovery that President Obama has presided over, as well as long-running trends related to globalization.

The information comes in data released as part of the 2012 Economic Census of the US economy. The number of manufacturing firms fell by more than 35,000 and total payroll for the sector declined by more than 3%.

The new data does not include possible gains last in 2013. According to the Labor Department, however, the manufacturing sector gained fewer than 100,000 jobs in 2013. The economy still has 2 million fewer manufacturing jobs than before the recession. 

Further, according to the Census Bureau, virtually every sector of the economy had fewer employees in 2012 then in 2007. At interesting exception is "health care and social assistance." That sector gained almost 2 million jobs. The jobs in these sectors pay far less than manufacturing, however. Payroll for manufacturing is just over $53,000 a year, while in health care it is just over $44,000.

A bright-spot in the economy is the mining and oil and gas sector. The number of companies in the sector jumped by 26.4%. Total economic output rose 34% to over $500 billion and employment increased 23% to over 900,000 jobs. Its total payroll also spiked, rising by more than 50% in just 5 years. Total payroll in the sector is over $67,000 per employee. 


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