But the groundwork has been laid to grow the sector in the coming year.
Manufacturing gained only 8,000 jobs in December. So says the monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that the economy added 223,000 jobs overall last month.
That’s relatively light, considering the sector averaged 32,000 per month in 2022 and 30,000 in 2021. But it’s in line with the observation that manufacturing is contracting, which portends that an economic recession may happen in 2023.
There are a lot of reasons manufacturing slipped this month, as Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul observed this morning, including interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve meant to slow down economic activity and lay workers off in the name of fighting inflation:
But a lot of the groundwork, in the way of industrial policy bills and infrastructure programs, has been laid so that manufacturing and its associated jobs could really spring up in 2023.
“Undoubtedly this slowdown in manufacturing jobs is the result of a convergence of factors, including higher interest rates and a return to a more normalized pattern of consumer spending on services. I’m optimistic for 2023, but it will take full implementation of public investments in infrastructure, clean energy, and semiconductors, as well as more awareness from the Federal Reserve, to keep up the pace of factory hiring we’ve seen over the past couple of years.
“2022 was a year of astounding new factory announcements. President Biden and supporters of these new investments are right to be proud of the progress made so far. But more will need to be done to keep that momentum going this year.”