New Manufacturing Jobs are Not Union Jobs

That point would have been worth mentioning in a NYT article on the fact that most new manufacturing jobs have been in prosperous areas of the country rather than in areas that lost numbers of manufacturing jobs in the last decade. While the economy has been added a moderate number of manufacturing jobs since 2011, the number of union members in the industry has continued to fall.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 84,000 fewer union members employed in manufacturing in 2018 than in 2011. While there has been a modest increase in union employees the last two years, the 2018 number was still 29,000 below the 2015 figure.

The decline in union membership is likely one of the main reasons that wage growth in manufacturing has lagged pay growth in the rest of the economy. The average hourly wage in manufacturing rose by just 2.2 percent over the last year compared to a 3.1 percent rate of increase for the overall average. In the prior twelve months, the average manufacturing wage increased by just 1.7 percent.

This note originally appeared on Dean Baker’s blog.

Dean Baker is the senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC.