2017 Manufacturing Employment Update

by: Smith and Howard

December 4, 2017

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U.S. manufacturing is on a comeback. Economic growth, increased consumer confidence, a rise in energy and commodity prices are a few components contributing to the growth of this industry.

Manufacturing Employment

Over the past 12 months, employment numbers point to overall progress. Since November 2016, U.S. manufacturers have added 156,000 workers, according to government data – a clear reversal from the 16,000 jobs lost between 2015 and 2016. However, the recent growth hasn’t surpassed the manufacturing payrolls increase seen in 2011 and 2014, when the industry gained more than 200,000 jobs.

In September, manufacturing activity surged to a 13-year high. Due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, factories took longer to deliver goods which boosted the prices of raw materials.

The Institute of Supply Management (ISM) reported factory employment reached its highest level since 2011. Economists point to the recent hurricanes playing a role in the high employment number; however, the natural disasters are inevitably boosting sales. The ISM index stated national factory activity hit a reading of 60.8 in September, the highest reading since May 2004. As noted by the ISM, a reading above 50 indicates expansion in the manufacturing.

As consumer confidence has increased, so has business investment which shows companies are spending to increase productivity. In the first quarter of 2017, investment in manufacturing plants surged to 14.8%, the highest percent of investment since 2014.

Manufacturing in Georgia

Georgia manufacturers are responsible for 11.06% of the total output in the state. Manufacturers in Georgia also employ 8.8% of the workforce, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Click here to read U.S. Manufacturing Rides Rising Tide, Buoyed by Global Growth, Optimism (subscription required)

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