A Balanced Look at the Manufacturing Employment Numbers

Dec. 6, 2013
Recent manufacturing employment numbers need to be viewed in the larger economic context.

The media reported good news today, stating that November manufacturing employment increased by 27,000 people. The increase was touted as great news and proof that things are getting stronger and stronger in the US economy. 

The 27,000 is the seasonally adjusted number, or if you prefer, the number that is adjusted by man as opposed to the actual change in employment.  Actual manufacturing employment went down by 3,000 people, not up by 27,000.  The real change, down 3,000, was normal for November.  The annual year-over-year growth rate slipped lower to 0.5% with the quarterly year-over-year (3/12) rising to 0.4%.  A normal decline in manufacturing jobs in December will keep the annual growth rate at 0.5%. 

Don’t get me wrong.  A 0.5% annual growth rate is better than the 10-year average of -2.1%.  Manufacturing is making a comeback, and the prospects for more re-shoring are good (we will cover those in another blog).

But let’s base our economic outlook on fact; there was no surge in manufacturing employment in November.  The economy is expanding, but there are no new signs of a long-term economic growth.  We are still on track with our forecast for a soft spot in the second half of 2014. 

About the Author

Alan Beaulieu Blog | President

One of the country’s most informed economists, Alan Beaulieu is a principal of the ITR Economics where he serves as President. ITR predicts future economic trends with 94.7% accuracy rate and 60 years of correct calls. In his keynotes, Alan delivers clear, comprehensive action plans and tools for capitalizing on business cycle fluctuations and outperforming your competition--whether the economy is moving up, down, or in a recession.

Since 1990, he has been consulting with companies throughout the US, Europe, and Asia on how to forecast, plan, and increase their profits based on business cycle trend analysis. Alan is also the Senior Economic Advisor to NAW, Contributing Editor for INDUSTRYWEEK, and the Chief Economist for HARDI.

Alan is co-author, along with his brother Brian, of the book MAKE YOUR MOVE, and has written numerous articles on economic analysis. He makes up to 150 appearances each year, and his keynotes and seminars have helped thousands of business owners and executives capitalize on emerging trends. 

Prior to joining ITR Economics, Alan was a principal in a steel fabrication company and also in a software development company.

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