Manufacturing Employment Remains 435,000 Above Trend in December

Key Points:

  • Manufacturing employment slipped slightly in December but remained well above its pre-2017 trend.
  • The economy has added 435,000 manufacturing jobs since January 2017 relative to a linear trend estimated from January 2015 through December 2016.

Economist Corner:

Employment in the manufacturing sector has experienced a resurgence since December 2016, with 435,000 jobs created relative to trend. This is the product of stronger economic growth that has increased demand for manufactured goods, and the expensing provisions in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act which have increased orders for durable manufactured goods.  This development is especially noteworthy since a few years ago many believed the decline of the manufacturing sector was as inevitable as the decline of agriculture in the 20th century.  This reversal may well be attributable to recent changes in tax and regulatory policies that make the U.S. a more attractive location for factories.