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Manufacturing Job Losses and the Future of Manufacturing Employment in the United States

Manufacturing Job Losses and the Future of Manufacturing Employment in the United States

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Excerpt from Manufacturing Job Losses and the Future of Manufacturing Employment in the United States: Hearing Before the Joint Economic Committee, Congress of the United States, One Hundred Third Congress, First Session, October 5, 1993

The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:00 a.m., in room 2359, Rayburn House Office Building, Honorable Lee H. Hamilton (Member of the Committee) presiding.

Present: Representative Hamilton.

Also present: William Buechner, Chad Stone, Steve Baldwin, Susan Lepper, Stephen Rose, Chris Frenze, Caleb Marshall, professional staff members.

Opening Statement Of Representative Hamilton, Member

Representative Hamilton. Good morning. The session of the Joint Economic Committee will come to order.

The meeting is to examine the future of manufacturing and manufacturing jobs in the United States. The focus of our concern today is the loss of one-tenth of our manufacturing jobs during the past four-and-a-half years and what, if anything, to do about it.

Since January 1989, employment in manufacturing has fallen by almost 1.8 million, or an average of almost 32,000 jobs per month. To put this in perspective, the average Fortune 500 firm employs 23,600 workers, so we have been losing the equivalent of almost one-and-a-half Fortune 500 firms each month for more than four-and-a-half years.

This is not the first time the U.S. economy has lost manufacturing jobs. There have been ups and downs throughout the postwar period but the job loss in the past has almost always been related to recessions, and then the jobs came back when the economy started to recover again. During this recovery, however, we have continued to lose manufacturing jobs, 780,000 since the recession officially ended in March 1991, which, in fact, is more manufacturing jobs than were lost during the recession itself.

Unfortunately, this trend does not seem to be coming to an end.

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