News Bite

Manufacturing output is on the rise in America, but manufacturing jobs plummet

Manufacturing jobs are down 28% since 2001

President Joe Biden tweeted Feb. 19, “Manufacturing is coming back to America.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also touted what she called “the return of manufacturing” when she attended the World Economic Forum in January.

But the number of manufacturing jobs in America has plummeted over the last 20 years.

The value of manufacturing in the United States, as measured by inflation-adjusted GDP, has increased by about 37% since 2001, according to James Hohman, director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center. In that same period, the number of manufacturing jobs has dropped by almost 28%, Hohman said.

Manufacturing output and employment are moving in different directions because of improved productivity in the manufacturing sector, said Chris Douglas, an economics professor at the University of Michigan-Flint.

“Manufacturing is largely automated, which means that output in the sector can be increased without adding many workers,” Douglas told CapCon.

Douglas cited auto manufacturing as an example, saying, “A few thousand workers can produce what it would take tens of thousands of workers to produce back in the 1960s and 1970s.”

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.