Manufacturing Jobs Pay Significant Wage Premium Carl Court, Getty Images

Manufacturing Jobs Pay Significant Wage Premium

The sector employed 12 million workers in 2013, or about 8.8% of total U.S. employment, including a higher overall share of workers without a college degree.

Workers in manufacturing made 10.9%, or $1.78, more than similar workers elsewhere in the economy in 2012–2013, according to a new report issued on Jan. 22 by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). 

The wage premium amounts to more than $3,700 annually.

The sector employed 12 million workers in 2013, or about 8.8% of total U.S. employment, including a higher overall share of workers without a college degree.

In addition to the 12 million people employed in U.S manufacturing, the sector supports some 17.1 million indirect jobs, for a total of 29.1 million jobs directly and indirectly supported – more than one fifth (21.3%) of total U.S. employment in 2013.

“This report makes clear just how crucial the manufacturing sector is to the nation’s economy,” said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM).

Manufacturing industries generated $2.1 trillion in GDP (12.5% of total U.S. gross domestic product) in 2013.  U.S. manufacturing had gross output of $5.9 trillion in 2013, more than one-third (35.4%) of U.S. GDP in 2013.

The report found that manufacturing plays a particularly important role in supporting jobs in a group of states in the upper Midwest and South. The top five states ranked by manufacturing’s share of total state employment in 2013 were Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, and Alabama. Complete data for employment in each state are available in the EPI Manufacturing Employment Map.  

While the wage premium is good news, the AAM points out that this sector lost 5.7 million jobs  between March 1998 and December 2013.

The report found that in addition to weak recovery loss from the recession, trade deficits have contributed to the job loss.  “To bring those jobs back we must tackle the enormous U.S. goods trade deficit,” says Paul.

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