2018 Saw Largest Increase in Manufacturing Jobs in 21 Years

By Terence P. Jeffrey | January 4, 2019 | 11:58am EST
President Donald Trump at the Foxconn factory in Mount Pleasant, Wisc., June 28, 2018. (Getty Images/Scott Olson)

(CNSNews.com) - The U.S. economy added 284,000 manufacturing jobs in 2018, according to the employment report released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is the largest increase in manufacturing jobs in the United States in 21 years.

The last time the United States increased manufacturing employment by more than 284,000 jobs in one year was in 1997, when the economy added 304,000 manufacturing jobs.

The BLS has reported manufacturing job numbers going back to 1939. Since then, the greatest one-year increase in manufacturing jobs occurred in 1942, during World War II, when the U.S. economy added 2,402,000 manufacturing jobs. The second biggest year was the one before that—1941—when the U.S. economy added 2,092,000 manufacturing jobs.

The worst year on record for U.S. manufacturing jobs was 1945, the year that World War II ended. That year, the nation lost 3,131,000 manufacturing jobs.

The second worst year was 1982, when the U.S. lost 1,533,000 manufacturing jobs. The third worst year was 2001, when the U.S. lost 1,470,000 manufacturing jobs. And the fourth worst year was 2009, when the U.S. lost 1,375,000 manufacturing jobs.

Manufacturing employment peaked in the United States at 19,553,000 in June 1979. It hit a record low in February and March of 2010, when it was 11,453,000.

In the years since 1939, the longest stretch of negative years in U.S. manufacturing employment was the 12-year span running from 1998 through 2009. The nation lost manufacturing jobs in every one of those years—dropping from 17,588,000 manufacturing jobs at the end of 1997 to 11,475,000 at the end of 2009, a decline of 6,113,000 manufacturing jobs.


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