Let's thank manufacturing for helping the U.S. economy so much of late
Here at ManufactureThis, we frequently talk about the oversized contribution that manufacturing makes to the U.S. economy. Part of this is that manufacturing possesses a unique "job multiplier" effect-- it can create additional, related jobs in the surrounding economy.
Simply put, one manufacturing job can support roughly three other jobs in the surrounding community. We've detailed this previously by using New Balance as an example. In Central Maine, much of the economy (in stores and restaurants, etc.) is driven by the wages that New Balance workers earn and spend.
If we extrapolate this to the larger national level, we can see that factory work puts good money in workers' pockets. That, in turn, helps drive the economy.
All of this helps explain Derek Thompson's article in The Atlantic yesterday headlined "The Amazing (and Puzzling) Manufacturing Recovery." Thanks to a rise in U.S. manufacturing employment, the economy has moved forward.
Thompson reports that "durable goods manufacturing accounted for a third of U.S. growth in 2011":
It grew more than twice as fast as any large industry. In some regions, it dominated overall output. In Oregon, the second-fastest growing state last year, durable good manufacturing accounted for an astonishing 80% of growth.
So, thanks to U.S. manufacturing's tremendous productivity, the sector is becoming competitive again, helping to drive job growth.
We need to put the caution light on, though, because manufacturing's resurgence is still shaky and tentative. Last week's monthly jobs report showed the manufacturing sector adding only 12,000 jobs-- not the meat of a sustained recovery.
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