CRF Blog

The manufacturing jobs delusion

by David De La Torre

In The manufacturing jobs delusion, The Economist argues that manufacturing jobs will not return in great numbers to the U.S.

History suggests that the aim of creating large numbers of manufacturing jobs will be a lost cause. In 1979, the high point for American manufacturing jobs was reached at 19.5m. The subsequent recession of the early 1980s caused that number to fall but there were regularly 17m–18m jobs in the 1980s and 1990s. From the turn of the millennium, however, the total fell pretty remorselessly, with the 2008-09 recession proving the coup de grace. The low was just under 11.5m in early 2010. As the economy recovered, some jobs returned and a peak of 12.3m was reached early last year. But since then, the numbers have been drifting down again. [more]