Manufacturing Employment Predictions for 2018

Technology moves extremely fast these days — and with it, the makeup of the workforce. How will continued innovation in manufacturing affect employment in 2018? While market forces can be unpredictable, it is possible to make some educated guesses based on the data. Here are some predictions to consider.

Over the last few years, manufacturing production has generally followed a cycle of two months of decline followed by one month of growth — and that growth is usually led by the automotive industry. That trend will likely continue in 2018 to the dismay of many in manufacturing. The unfortunate truth is that in many industries, inventory is too high — supply is exceeding demand, which means to be profitable, many firms will need to slow down production. Furthermore, the appreciation of the dollar favors imports over exports, meaning yet another drain on manufacturing growth.

When manufacturing growth returns, strong employment growth will drive it. Where can we expect to see employment growth start in 2018 and beyond?


One industry that is fairly well-insulated against recent market shocks to manufacturing is in motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts production. Employees in this industry should feel safer, and those seeking employment in the automobile industry have cause for optimism. The combination of lower gas prices and better fuel economy for newer cars is proving to be an impetus for people to buy larger, more expensive vehicles, which is a great benefit to those who manufacture said vehicles.

Health Care

The combination of an aging population and more people seeking health care due to the ACA is a continuing boon to health care manufacturing. Demand for medical devices and supplies is on the rise. Similarly, pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturers and their employees should also benefit.


Existing stores of housing are quite low relative to the expected rise of needy household formations. While growth may start slow, it should ramp up consistently over the years, which will be promising for employees all along the home-building chain.


Machinery production, which has been down, should start to rebound in 2018 and continue to grow over the next couple of years.

What industries can we expect to have fewer employment needs in 2018?


Because airplane deliveries are common to foreign buyers, and the current market favors purchases in the other direction, the aerospace industry has suffered and will probably continue to do so.


Because of China’s stronghold on metals manufacturing, industries like steel, aluminum, and fabricated metal will probably decline in 2018.

Mining and Drilling

Mining and drilling equipment production has declined in recent years. It may start to rebound in 2018, but the industry may be slow to bounce back relative to the hard hit it has taken.

Whatever industry you are in, it is important to keep your employees optimistic so you are prepared when the growth cycle hits. Communicating with employees and making sure your equipment is properly maintained can go a long way towards this goal.

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