How much does a manufacturing job pay these days?
The resurgence of manufacturing jobs – roughly 500,000 regained since 2010 – has been one of the bright spots during America’s recession economy. But some recent reports have suggested that these jobs aren’t the same as the old ones.
What’s the difference, some ask? These new ones don’t pay as much.
For years and years, the good paycheck provided by manufacturing employment brought millions into the middle class. You could graduate from high school, get a position on a production line, and learn skills on the job. But around the start of the 21st Century, trade liberalization rules passed by Congress and adopted by successive administrations helped precipitate manufacturing’s decline. We’ve lost more thah 5 million manufacturing jobs since then. And many economists say the ones that are returning will compensate employees considerably less.
But that might not be entirely true. According to Commerce Department economists, these jobs are still lucrative. When you include the value of medical and retirement benefits that come with manufacturing jobs, they still outpace average employment in the wider economy.
The truth is: Even in changing economy, manufacturing still provides good jobs. That’s what made it a huge topic of debate during the presidential campaign, and it’s why President Obama is so bullish on growing the sector.
This month the economy added 14,000 manufacturing jobs. That’s way too few if we’re going to reach the president’s goal of one million new manufacturing jobs in his second term –- but, hey, we’re moving in the right direction. Keep an eye on our #AAMeter as we track the president’s progress.
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