New JEC Report Details Recovery in Manufacturing

Washington, D.C. – A new report released today by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee [JEC], titled “Understanding the Economy: Promising Signs of Recovery in Manufacturing,” provides an in-depth look at the manufacturing sector, examining manufacturing employment losses during the Great Recession and detailing the rebound in manufacturing during the first half of 2010.

“This report shows that the manufacturing sector is a bright spot in the recovery with six consecutive months of employment growth.  However, these job gains are not consistent across the U.S. or even within the states with the largest manufacturing bases,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Chair of the JEC.  “There are a lot of unemployed manufacturing workers suffering – during the Bush years, we lost 27% of our country’s manufacturing jobs – so this recent manufacturing rebound is especially good news.  We need to ensure continued growth in this sector – by boosting demand and ensuring that there is a level playing field for products made in America.”

The report finds that after peaking in 1979, manufacturing employment has gradually declined during the past thirty years, with that decline accelerating during the Bush administration and even further during the Great Recession. The manufacturing sector began to rebound in 2010, adding jobs for six consecutive months and a total of 136,000 manufacturing jobs in the first half of 2010.  Nearly all (96 percent) of the manufacturing employment gains during the first half of 2010 have been in durable goods.

Other JEC report findings include:

Manufacturing Job Loss Leading up to and During the Great Recession

  • 4.7 million manufacturing jobs – more than 27 percent of employment within the sector – were lost from February 2001 to February 2009.
  • About three-fourths of the almost 2.7 million manufacturing jobs lost between June 2006 and December 2009 were within durable goods.
  • In June 2006, manufacturing made up more than 10 percent of employment in 26 states; by December 2009, only 17 states had manufacturing sectors that made up more than 10 percent of employment.

Manufacturing Recovery in 2010

  • The six consecutive months of manufacturing employment gains from January-June 2010 is the longest stretch of manufacturing growth since 1997.
  • States with the largest manufacturing employee bases have experienced manufacturing employment growth in 2010.  In the first six months of 2010, manufacturing employment has increased by 4 percent in Indiana, 3 percent in Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Texas, and 1 percent in California, Illinois and Pennsylvania.

Manufacturing Recovery Fragile

  • Employers added only 9,000 manufacturing jobs in June 2010, the smallest monthly gain during the first six months of 2010.

The JEC report is part of a series that analyzes data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics during the latest recession to understand its impact on various states, communities and sectors of the economy.  The report was prepared by the Majority Staff of the Joint Economic Committee.


The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.

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