Workers in two American industries that many economists had consigned to the dustbin of history saw some of the biggest gains in wages, bonuses, and benefits in the start of 2018.
The earnings of workers in the durable manufacturing sector rose 12.2 percent compared with the end of 2017, the largest gain of any of the 24 industries tracked by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Incomes and benefits for these workers rose by more than $20 billion in the quarter.
The Trump tax cut, it turns out, was a boon to many of the regions that voted for Donald Trump in 2016. Bonuses paid by auto manufacturers in nine states were responsible for around one-fifth of the gain, according to data released by the BEA on Thursday.
“Earnings in durable manufacturing, which increased $20.7 billion dollars in the first quarter, was boosted by $4.3 billion dollars in profit sharing payments made by auto manufacturers to workers in nine states: Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas,” the BEA said in a statement.
Miners saw a 10.2 percent gain, the third best growth in terms of percentage. Between mining and durable manufacturing, the U.S. military saw their earnings rise by 10.3 percent.
“Mining earnings increased $3.1 billion dollars in the first quarter, the largest increase since the second quarter of 2014 as higher prices for energy related commodities led to increased earnings,” the BEA said.
Prior to Trump taking office, earnings of miners had declined for nine consecutive quarters.
Fourth place was taken by construction, whose workers earned 9.6 percent or $17 billion more.
Earnings include wages, salaries, bonuses, benefits, and income of sole proprietors operating small businesses, according to the BEA. Rising earnings can reflect both increased income of workers and an increase of the number of workers in the industry.