Rust Belt States Shaking Off the Dust


Many of the rust belt states in the US are enjoying a recent resurgence in manufacturing jobs. In fact, the bulk of manufacturing jobs gained in the past three years have been focused in those states, and account for more than half of the 500,000+ manufacturing jobs gained in the US between March 2010 and March 2013.

Experts estimate that a quarter million of the net new manufacturing jobs gained since early 2010 are directly attributable to the recovery of the auto industry. Boosts from government bailouts and renegotiated labour contracts between the industry and the United Automobile Workers union have encouraged the growth in automobile manufacturing jobs, while the rest of the 500,000 manufacturing jobs have predominantly come from the machinery and fabricated metals sectors. States such as Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Kentucky have all enjoyed manufacturing job growth that is focused on producing for the domestic market as well as for export.

The gains haven't just been made by big manufacturers; smaller manufactures are also growing quickly. According to economists, the increase in both employment and revenue in the manufacturing industry is due to a combination of increased productivity, automation, and lessons learned about efficiency during the financial crisis.

The increases in employment aren't local to the manufacturing industry; shale gas, which supplies energy for a considerable amount of manufacturing, has also been experiencing a boom. More than 100,000 mining jobs have been created in Texas, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania since 2010. Additionally, many of the gains have been driven by industries like aerospace in Washington, food processing and agricultural equipment in Minnesota and Iowa, machinery, medical devices, and even manufactured products for Pallet Shipping from the USA to Canada.

“In the US, 90 per cent of our sales are to original equipment manufacturers," said Jason Speer, president of Quality Float Works, which makes metal floats for industrial uses. His 98-year-old family-owned company’s sales have almost doubled since 2009, and he is planning to expand. "If [manufacturers] are selling couple of hundred thousand dollar pieces of equipment, that is a good sign [for the economy].”

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