The Economic and Statistics Administration released a report today on the “Benefits of Manufacturing Jobs,” looking at the current state of the manufacturing sector and job trends. Its good to see that since January 2010 (lowest period) to April 2012, manufacturing employment expanded by nearly 500,000 jobs. This is the strongest cyclical rebound since the recessions in the 1980s.
The authors, David Langdon and Rebecca Lehrman, point to the essential role manufacturing continues to play in innovation, as manufacturing firms fund most domestic corporate R&D, and in driving export growth. The report demonstrates signs of renewed strength in the sector and its importance for providing “good jobs” to workers and to the greater economy via innovation that improves our nation’s standard of living.
Some of the highlights of the report include:
•On average, hourly wages and salaries for manufacturing jobs are $29.75 an hour compared to $27.47 an hour for non-manufacturing jobs. Total hourly compensation, which includes employer-provided benefits, is $38.27 for workers in manufacturing jobs and $32.84 for workers in non-manufacturing jobs, a 17 percent premium.
•The educational attainment of the manufacturing workforce is rising steadily. In 2011, 53 percent of all manufacturing workers had at least some college education, up from 43 percent in 1994.
• The innovative manufacturing sector relies more heavily on STEM education than non-manufacturing. For instance, nearly 1 out of 3 (32 percent) college-educated manufacturing workers has a STEM job, compared to 10 percent in non-manufacturing.
•Higher educational attainment for manufacturing workers carries higher premiums and the size of the premium, including or excluding benefits, increases consistently with educational attainment.
•The compensation premium has risen over the past decade across all levels of educational attainment.
Advanced education and training is becoming increasingly more important to manufactures. The NAM continues to push policymakers to address the issue of better training for our workforce to meet the needs of modern manufacturing, both today and in the future.
Emily Sternfeld is a policy associate, National Association of Manufacturers.