May 18, 2011

Manufacturing sector growing in jobs, wages and productivity

Even as the public sector continues to shed jobs, economist Bruce Yandle says we are now in an expansion phase of our economic cycle, with the manufacturing sector adding jobs, and production levels rising again.

“Productivity levels have increased over the last few years, even after the manufacturing sector lost jobs,” said Yandle.  “Recently we’ve seen a return of production of products to the United States from elsewhere, partially because the cost of labor around the world, especially in China, is rising.”

Yandle says that data from April show that across the nation, wages in manufacturing, including supervisors, are at an average of $23.60 an hour, with wages for production workers at an average of $18.90 per hour, and these wages have risen every year since 2007.  Even in areas where workers are accepting lower base pay, additional compensation may be influencing workers’ decision.

“Workers earning less than $10 an hour may be earning fringe benefits equal to that or more,” Yandle said.  “Being able to have healthcare benefits for a family is critical.”