Industrial Insight

manufacturing is doing well… | February 4, 2012

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Based on Record Profits, U.S. Manufacturing is Alive and Well and Had Its Best Year Ever in 2011

The chart above compares data in 1995 and 2011 for: a) inflation-adjusted manufacturing profits (2011 dollars, Census data here), and b) average manufacturing employment levels. The year 1995 was selected as a representative year during the period when U.S. manufacturing employment exceeded 17 million workers and inflation-adjusted profits were typical for a non-recession year in the era of what might be considered the “golden age of American manufacturing.” It was definitely well before the unprecedented contraction in manufacturing employment that started in about 2001, and by the time it ended in 2009 resulted in the elimination of more than five million factory jobs over a short eight-year period, possibly the greatest loss of jobs in one U.S. industry in such a short period of time ever in American history. And it was that period of major job losses in the American manufacturing sector that stoked frequent media stories about the “decline, demise, or death of U.S. manufacturing,” which continue today.


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I'm the executive vice president for a steel casting trade association, the Steel Founders' Society of America. I've got a crazy wife, five crazy children, three crazy people that married into the family, and two crazy fun little grandsons.







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