Full-time manufacturing jobs for non-college degree workers pay a wage premium of more than $3,700 annually over jobs in other economic sectors and have a significant positive impact on the U.S. economy, according to a new report issued today by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).
In Arizona, the report shows, the average manufacturing worker makes $18.71 an hour compared to $16.40 an hour for other workers, an annual wage difference of $4,804.80 for the usual 2,080 hours of full-time work per year.
Manufacturing jobs make up 6.2 percent of total state employment in Arizona, which ranks 37th in the nation by share of manufacturing jobs. In raw numbers, Arizona ranks 27th in manufacturing jobs with 155,100.
“This report makes clear just how crucial the manufacturing sector is to the nation’s economy,” said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing. “Manufacturing’s wage premium is a clear path to the middle class. But to bring those jobs back we must tackle the enormous U.S. goods trade deficit, and make a serious, long-term investment in transportation infrastructure.”
Despite this wage premium, recent manufacturing job growth has been hamstrung by the mushrooming goods trade deficit. The United States lost 5.7 million manufacturing jobs between March 1998 and December 2013, the report found, with the principal causes of job loss identified as the weak recovery from the Great Recession; and growing trade deficits, especially with China, Mexico, and other low-wage nations. The U.S. trade deficit in manufactured goods has increased sharply since 2009.
The EPI study, “The Manufacturing Footprint and the Importance of U.S. Manufacturing Jobs,” found that the sector employed 12 million workers in 2013, or about 8.8 percent of total U.S. employment, including a higher overall share of workers without a college degree. On average, these workers made 10.9 percent, or $1.78, an hour more than similar workers elsewhere in the economy.
The report found that manufacturing plays a particularly important role in supporting jobs in a group of states in the upper Midwest and South. Complete data for employment in each state and for all 435 congressional districts and the District of Columbia are available in the EPI Manufacturing Employment Map.
In addition to the 12 million people employed in U.S manufacturing, the sector supports some 17.1 million indirect jobs, for a total of 29.1 million jobs directly and indirectly supported – more than one fifth (21.3 percent) of total U.S. employment in 2013.