“The rapid hiring in blue collar sectors is delivering benefits to areas that turned out heavily for Trump”
While everyone is focusing on anti-Trump derangement, the blue-collar job sector has been quietly bouncing back. According to the Brookings Institution, blue-collar job growth is at its highest level since 1984.
Blue-collar jobs are growing at their fastest rate in more than 30 years, helping fuel a hiring boom in many small towns and rural areas that are strong supporters of President Trump ahead of November’s mid-term elections.
Jobs in goods-producing industries — mining, construction, and manufacturing — grew 3.3 percent in the year preceding July, the best rate since 1984, according to a Washington Post analysis.
Blue collar jobs, long a small and shrinking part of the U.S. economy, are now growing at a faster clip than those in America’s much larger service economy. Many factors collided to produce the blue collar boom. Some are tied to short-term boom-and-bust cycles, but others may endure.
The rapid hiring in blue collar sectors is delivering benefits to areas that turned out heavily for Trump in the 2016 election, according to the Brookings Institution, a shift from earlier in this expansion, when large and mid-sized cities enjoyed most of the gains.
The biggest drivers of the blue-collar hiring surge are the rebound in oil prices, the need to rebuild after disasters such as Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, and rising demand generated by a growing economy.
Not only is there current growth in this sector, but it appears that more is soon to come to small towns and rural areas.
Job gains in smaller towns and rural areas accelerated last year, and continued to build in early 2018.
Rural employment grew at an annualized rate of 5.1 percent in the first quarter. Smaller metro areas grew 5.0 percent. That’s significantly larger than the 4.1 percent growth seen in large urban areas that recovered earlier from the Great Recession, according to an analysis by the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program of a separate set of Labor Department data released on Wednesday.
. . . . In a sign of revitalization in an area previously hit hard by the decline of coal and steel production, the Appalachian town of Ashland, Ky., recently broke ground on a new aluminum mill. Owned by Braidy Industries, the mill will eventually employ over 500 people.
Hiring has already started for construction positions, and the local community college is training people for the high-tech manufacturing jobs.
“I had 24 cities and towns bid for this project. Ashland was by far the poorest of them all,” said Craig Bouchard, the chief executive of Braidy Industries. “I chose Appalachia for one reason: They have eight time more available metal-working families than any other place in the country. I’ve already got 7,000 job applications.”
The central dynamic of the Trump period persists. As Table 1 shows, goods-producing industries have been surging while services industries have seen their seasonally adjusted employment growth slow since 2016.
To be more specific, while information-sector growth has turned negative in the last two years (with a slight recovery starting in 2018), resource extraction and manufacturing industries have been growing at their fastest rates since the financial crisis.
Mining and logging pursuits (which include oil and gas extraction) have seen rapid employment growth based on strong hiring in the various support activities associated with the sector like exploration and prospecting. Meanwhile, machinery manufacturing; electrical equipment, appliance, and component manufacturing; and fabricated metal product manufacturing have all been growing smartly as domestic demand has kept factories humming.
With economic strength comes greater optimism, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) touts 95.1% manufacturers’ optimism and a projection of “historic growth.”
This record optimism is no accident. It is fueled by the game-changing tax reform passed six months ago. Last year, manufacturers promised that we would deliver for our people and our communities if tax reform became law. Congress and the president delivered, and now manufacturers are keeping our promise: hiring new workers, raising wages, improving benefits, buying equipment and expanding right here in the United States.
And the best part is, with manufacturers’ record-setting confidence and plans to keep hiring and growing, more good news is yet to come.
Watch President Trump’s 2017 remarks to the National Association of Manufacturers:DONATE
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