This Chart May Stun You (Or Not)

[Note: This item comes from friend David Rosenthal. DLH]

This Chart May Stun You (Or Not)
By Josh Marshall
Jan 9 2017

The statistics covering American manufacturing are complex. American manufacturing is by many metrics doing great. It’s American manufacturing jobs which have declined steeply. That’s a result of international competition but even more automation. Most of us know this broad story. What most don’t know is how recent the drop is.

Earlier today TPM Reader JL flagged this chart. Today explain the numbers, the measure is jobs measured by thousands of persons. So in 1980, the number starts at just under 20 million manufacturing jobs. What you see is that that number declines somewhat but remains relatively stable from until about 2000. It falls sharply during the first Bush administration (the era of the dot com bubble burst). Then it stabilizes and drops precipitously during the 2008 economic crisis.

There’s a modest recovery since then during the Obama years. But the decline over the first decade of the 21st century is stark. Of course, the US population has grown dramatically over the last 37 years. So the drop is even greater in percentage terms. But in terms of job loss as it affects individuals and communities, these absolute numbers are probably a better measure.


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