Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–May 23, 2017
By: Alan Barber and Dean Baker
Overall job growth in blue collar jobs was modest in April, growing by 21,000 from its March level. Manufacturing added 6,000 jobs, construction 5,000 jobs, and mining 8,800, the vast majority of which were in support activities. Several states saw significant losses in the construction and manufacturing sectors in April, with some of the biggest losses occurring in rust belt states.
The largest job gains in manufacturing were in Texas (8,100 jobs), Michigan (7,900 jobs) and Wisconsin which added 5,100. The rustbelt state job losers were Ohio, which lost 5,800 manufacturing jobs (0.9 percent) Indiana with a loss of 3,200 jobs (0.6 percent), New York, which lost 3,100 jobs (0.7 percent) and Pennsylvania with a loss of 3,600 manufacturing jobs (0.6 percent).
In percentage terms the biggest losers were Alaska, which saw job loss of 4.1 percent (500 jobs) compared to March, followed by Montana at 1.4 percent (300 jobs) and Kentucky at 1.1 percent (2,900 jobs). The largest percentage gains were in Rhode Island where manufacturing employment was up 2.2 percent (900 jobs), Idaho with an increase of 1.8 percent (1,200 jobs), and Maine which saw its manufacturing employment increase by (1.4 percent (700 jobs).
We can now look back at three months of data since President Trump took office. While the impact of his administration on job growth is almost certainly minimal over this period, we can at least see some trace of its footprint.
Some of the rust belt states have seen modest job growth in manufacturing over this period. Wisconsin has added 4,900 jobs over this period, an increase of 1.0 percent. Illinois added 4,500 jobs, an increase of 0.8 percent. Michigan saw manufacturing employment increase by 4,300, a rise of 0.7 percent. Minnesota added 2,600 jobs over this period, an increase of 0.7 percent.
Indiana has seen no change in manufacturing employment over the first three months of the Trump administration. Iowa lost 800 jobs, a decline of 0.4 percent. Pennsylvania lost 3,800 jobs, 0.7 percent of total employment in the sector. Ohio lost the most jobs over this period, with a decline of 4,700 jobs, which was 0.7 percent of manufacturing employment.
While growth in the construction sector overall was tepid at best, some states did see substantial growth over the last month. Connecticut, New Hampshire and Nevada saw the largest percent increases at 4.7 percent, 3.7 percent, and 3.3 percent respectively.
Among rust belt states, only Wisconsin showed positive growth with a gain of 1,500 jobs. By contrast, Texas saw job loss of 1.4 percent (-10,300). It should be noted that March saw a substantial increase in construction jobs and the percent change average over the last 3 months is 0.1 percent. The other significant losses in the sector include declines of 3.4 percent (7,400 jobs) in Ohio and 2.1 percent or (4,500) in Illinois.
This is likely largely a seasonal adjustment story, with unusually good winter weather leading to better than normal job gains in the winter months. However, this means that the warmer spring weather leads to less than normal job growth in construction.
The mining and logging sectors grew overall, adding 10,000 jobs nationwide. Once again this was led by support activities for mining (6,700 jobs) and oil and gas extraction (1,000 jobs). The only rust belt states to see any change in employment were Michigan with a 2.7 percent increase, New York at 1.9 percent, and Pennsylvania at 0.4 percent.
Though the economy as a whole saw a healthy gain of 211,000 in April, the construction, manufacturing and mining and logging sectors made little contribution. These blue collar jobs, once the drivers of the rust belt economy, were a mixed bag at the state level with little aggregate growth in April.
Alan Barber is Director of Domestic Policy at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in Washington, D.C. Dean Baker is an Economist and Co-Director at CEPR.
The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) is an independent, nonpartisan think tank that was established to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people’s lives. CEPR was co-founded by economists Dean Baker and Mark Weisbrot in 1999. CEPR’s Advisory Board includes Nobel Laureate economists Robert Solow and Joseph Stiglitz; Janet Gornick, Professor at the CUNY Graduate Center and Director of the Luxembourg Income Study; and Richard Freeman, Professor of Economics at Harvard University.