The latest monthly jobs report was issued this morning, with the unemployment rate at 8.5%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Manufacturing gained 23,000 jobs.
Said Scott Paul, Executive Director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM):
"Finally, we have something to celebrate in manufacturing. Adding 23,000 manufacturing jobs in December is welcome news for a sector that has shed one-third of its employment in the last decade. However, many challenges lie ahead. Dampened growth in China and Europe may impact the fortunes of American exporters. Currency manipulation in China and Japan may continue to hamper manufacturing growth in the United States. Congress may impose self-inflicted wounds to our economy by refusing to expand tax breaks for plant and equipment purchases as well as clean energy manufacturing. So, there are no guarantees that manufacturing employment will continue to thrive unless Congress and the President understand exactly what is at stake.
"But, it is clear some policies are working. The auto rescue clearly stabilized the industry, allowing it to add back some capacity and provide a much-needed boost to its supply chain, as well. Trade enforcement actions have provided a level playing field for key manufacturing sectors such as steel and tires.
"We’ve experienced positive job growth in manufacturing for two straight years, but the job gains are still just a drop in the bucket compared to what was lost in the last decade. If we can sustain monthly gains of at least 25,000 in manufacturing this year, we’ll be back on the right track."