The Census Bureau released its 2012 manufacturing census data, and it showed some of the true impact of the Great Recession. In total the industry lost nearly 40,000 facilities between 2007 and 2012, with 2007 employment at 13,195,670 workers, down to 11,268,906 in 2012. At the same time, though, manufacturing revenue climbed from $5.3 trillion in 2007 to $5.7 trillion in 2012, showing the industry’s productivity gains in recent years. Read the report here.
Many analysts have said that manufacturing will never again see the number of employees it had during its peak (in June 1977, when the industry employed more than 19 million workers), but the industry skills gap has been well documented. Manufacturers continue to struggle to find the skilled workers needed for a post-recession industry – more automated, more technologically advanced, more globally competitive.
The data very much reflect the rapid evolution that has taken place within the U.S. industry in recent years. While manufacturing looks radically different than it did just a few years ago, many analysts say the industry will continue to see growth, and there is momentum for both reshoring and foreign direct investment in the United States – all signs pointing to a brighter future.