Lets Get it Right American Manufacturing is Doing Well

Let's Get it Right, American Manufacturing is Doing Well

Dec. 24, 2014
The sector is on pace to manufacture more  in 2014 than we have in any year in all of U.S. history.

Tired of hearing people say that manufacturing is going downhill, Professor Thomas L. Hogan of the Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University, sets the record straight.

“The U.S. manufacturing sector produces more stuff almost every year than it did the year before,” Hogan says in a column on USA Today.

“Prior to the 2008 recession, we manufactured more stuff in the United States than had ever been manufactured by any country, ever, in the history of the world. Is that decline?” Hogan points out the sector is on pace to manufacture more stuff in 2014 than we have in any year in all of U.S. history. 

He does understand why people think this way.

Most Americans, including the president, have a misperception of decline because manufacturing employment has fallen in recent decades. Although it is true that the number of jobs in manufacturing has gone down, there are two reasons this change should not be thought of as "decline."

First, while the number of U.S. manufacturing jobs has fallen by almost 7.5 million jobs since its peak in 1979, this loss is modest compared to the jobs created over that time. The U.S. economy creates and loses almost 5 million jobs every month. The number of non-manufacturing jobs created in the last few months alone is more than the number of U.S. manufacturing jobs lost in the past 35 years.

Second, American workers have moved out of manufacturing and into industries where they are most needed. Yet despite having fewer workers, the manufacturing sector still keeps producing more stuff every year. Producing more stuff with less work is not decline.

Read Hogan’s full story in USA Today.

About the Author

Adrienne Selko | Senior Editor

Focus: Workforce, Talent 

Follow Me on Twitter: @ASelkoIW

Bio: Adrienne Selko has written about many topics over the 17 years she has been with the publication and currently focuses on workforce development strategies. Previously Adrienne was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck? which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics and EHS Today

Editorial mission statement: Manufacturing is the enviable position of creating products, processes and policies that solve the world’s problems. When the industry stepped up to manufacture what was necessary to combat the pandemic, it revealed its true nature. My goal is to showcase the sector’s ability to address a broad range of workforce issues including technology, training, diversity & inclusion, with a goal of enticing future generations to join this amazing sector.

Why I find manufacturing interesting: On my first day working for a company that made medical equipment such as MRIs, I toured the plant floor. On every wall was a photo of a person, mostly children. I asked my supervisor why this was the case and he said that the work we do at this company has saved these people’s lives. “We never forget how important our work is and everyone’s contribution to that.” From that moment on I was hooked on manufacturing.

I have talked with many people in this field who have transformed their own career development to assist others. For example, companies are hiring those with disabilities, those previously incarcerated and other talent pools that have been underutilized. I have talked with leaders who have brought out the best in their workforce, as well as employees doing their best work while doing good for the world. 

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