Record Low Unemployment Presents Manufacturing Opportunities
Many Americans are rejoicing over the uptick in the U.S. economy and job market. With over 200,000 new jobs created in November and the unemployment rate holding steady at 4.1%, this optimism is well-founded. The highest numbers of job gains came in the professional and business services, manufacturing, and health care industries.
In a seeming confirmation of President Trump’s economic promises to boost the manufacturing industry, the manufacturing unemployment rate of 2.6% is the lowest rate since recording began in 2000. The greatest growth in this sector comes from the fabricated metal and machinery industries, which have seen a boost alongside rising oil prices. Though the administration will likely attribute this data to the success of their economic policy and the historically low unemployment rates, it is probably most closely related to the 25% decrease in overall manufacturing workers since 2000. Despite the decrease in workers from the beginning of the century until now, the manufacturing industry’s potential remains impressive. The sector added 31,000 jobs — the largest job increase in 15 years — in November alone, with total growth of 189,000 in the last 12 months.
Most of the recent U.S. economic growth in the manufacturing industry, in particular, can be attributed to a stronger global economy. The combined economic growth of Europe, Japan, and developing countries increases demand for American products and creates U.S. job growth opportunities. Less prosperous years in the U.S. were defined by the dollar’s increased value, which made American products more expensive in the international marketplace and left room for international competitors to increase their market shares.
However, America’s economic rebound is evident. The last six months have shown persistent economic growth, and consumer confidence is the highest it has been in 17 years. Exports such as agricultural and mining equipment, aircraft engines, and semiconductors contributed a 0.43 percentage point to U.S. economic growth in the third quarter — the highest contribution from exports in nearly four years. With the global economy expanding at its fastest pace in seven years, it is highly likely those in the U.S. can expect manufacturing job growth to continue increasing.