In detail, US manufacturing production grew 11% since the dot.com bust (2000-03) and the ensuing economic turbulence of the 2001 and 2007-09 recessions, according to Manufacturing and Logistics: A Generation of Volatility & Growth, released today by the Ball State Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) and Conexus Indiana.
“According to folklore, this has been a terrible generation for manufacturing and those who move goods,” says CBER Director Michael Hicks. “That isn’t really what the data say. Indeed, 2015 was a record manufacturing production year in inflation-adjusted dollars. While 2016 fell just short with some weakness in the first and second quarter, 2017 looks to be a new record year.”
More goods produced by fewer workers
“Most of the confusion about manufacturing and logistics is due to declining employment over the past generation,” Hicks adds. “The fact is, manufacturing firms have become very lean, and productivity growth means more goods produced with fewer workers.”
By way of explanation, three factors typically contribute to a decline in employment: the workforce is better educated and trained, increasing productivity; mechanization has displaced some workers; and improved processes, such Lean Six Sigma and other management methods, have increased manufacturing production, say the study’s authors.
Since peak manufacturing employment in 1979, the US has lost approximately 7.5 million manufacturing jobs but gained more than 9 million jobs in trade, transportation and utilities, the broadest measure of the logistics industry.
“Trade and productivity growth shifts job opportunities to other places and other sectors even as employment grows,” Hicks says. “We are at peak US employment right now.”
More info: http://conexus.cberdata.org/