Manufacturing jobs are not just up — they’re way up. The January figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that manufacturing added 29,000 new jobs in the first month of 2016. Compare that with the third quarter of 2015, when 33,000 manufacturing jobs were added in three months — or the first three quarters of 2015, when the number of manufacturing jobs held steady with no additions.
Clearly, things are looking up in the manufacturing sector.
Part of that is a general improvement: unemployment nationwide is under 5% for the first time since the 2008 recession. But until recently a lot of job gains have been limited gains. Part-time barista jobs may be better than no jobs, but nervous companies were doing more part time and temporary hiring than full-time permanent hires. The latest figures show a drop in temp jobs — much of that coming from the end of holiday extra hires — and a rise in steady, well-paying jobs such as those in manufacturing.
There is still uncertainty over whether reshoring is a real thing or not, but we saw that new manufacturing facilities in the U.S. typically offered fewer entry-level jobs because they have been more highly automated and more modern. Modern manufacturing doesn’t rely on hordes of workers doing simple repetitive tasks.
This meant that production has been rising for a while, even though employment in manufacturing has not.
So the number of jobs being brought back to our shores was lower than the number that left. The current rise in manufacturing jobs is not the result of a step back in technology. It suggests that the reshuffling of jobs between humans and machines has settled and real job growth is beginning.
If your factory is seeing more new orders and hiring new people, it might be time to reevaluate your machinery. If you use Rexroth motion control, we can help.