Per available numbers spotlighted by The New York Times, manufacturing jobs in the United States are now past the levels recorded before the COVID-19 pandemic forced widespread economic slowdowns in the United States.
It’s yet another indicator showing that the economic devastation predicted by some — meaning Trump and acolytes of his — to follow Joe Biden taking power as president just isn’t here. Although inflation remains high when comparing current prices to those from a year ago, it’s not a solely U.S. problem, and the Biden administration, through support for U.S. manufacturing with initiatives like a widely touted CHIPS bill uplifting the domestic production of semiconductor chips, is addressing the problem in ways officials hope bring down costs. Employment also remains high, and in certain circumstances, wage increases have actually outpaced inflation in recent months, meaning some workers could keep up with the price changes per available calculations. In addition, month-to-month inflation is, in a broad view, falling, with gas prices still decreasing after a record high was set in June.
As for the manufacturing jobs, the return of which has accompanied a documented jump in U.S. consumer spending on goods rather than services, the Times lays out the situation as follows: “American manufacturers cut roughly 1.36 million jobs from February to April of 2020, as Covid-19 shut down much of the economy. As of August this year, manufacturers had added back about 1.43 million jobs, a net gain of 67,000 workers above prepandemic levels.” This recovery breaks with a historical trend of manufacturing employment prospects suffering at levels that simply weren’t fully undone amid economic conditions like those seen in connection to the pandemic. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen pointed to economic support for smaller-scale operations in the COVID-19 economic relief package Biden signed early last year, which she said “has been tremendously helpful in restoring the health of the job market and given the shifting in spending patterns, I think that’s been to the benefit of manufacturing.”
Federal spending on infrastructure — support for which Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) recently touted, perceptibly implying he voted for it… although he didn’t — is also helping boost employment opportunities in domestic manufacturing. Other relevant factors include continuing high prices for internationally shipping 40-foot containers — costs for the trip remain multiple times higher than before the pandemic. In addition, although most major companies (per available polling) haven’t recently moved operations outside of China, Brian Deese — who leads the National Economic Council for the Biden admin — suggests that could change: “One of the most striking things that we are seeing now is the number of companies — U.S. companies and global companies — that are committing to build and expand their manufacturing footprint in the United States, and doing so based on their view that not only did the pandemic highlight the need for more resilience in their supply chains, but that the United States is creating a policy environment that makes long term investment here in the United States more attractive.” Read more at this link.