Manufacturing has been in freefall for more than a decade, but the trend seems to have been reversed during the Obama administration, according to a new analysis (paywalled) by Bloomberg Government:
The BGOV Barometer shows U.S. factory positions have grown since early 2010, arresting a slide that began toward the end of the 1990s. It’s the best showing since the era of Bill Clinton …
“This is the first sustained increase we’ve seen in a long time,” Macpherson said. … The progress so far also contrasts with the job losses seen during the recovery from the 2001 recession, when George W. Bush was president, he said. More jobs at factories are mainly an outcome of longer-term trends including rising productivity and innovation, a weaker dollar and free trade agreements, he said.
To be sure, Obama started his term when manufacturing jobs were approaching historic lows, largely due to the forces of globalization outside of the Bush administration’s control. And not everyone is convinced that the turnaround will last: In August, for instance, manufacturing activity contracted for the third consecutive month. But the numbers do suggest that manufacturing has been one of the few bright spots of the recovery.