How the Decline in U.S. Manufacturing Makes Job Recoveries More Difficult

Publication: The Washington Post's Wonkblog

Author: Brad Plumer


02/02/2012 - Back when the manufacturing sector employed a much greater share of Americans, there was a somewhat predictable rhythm to employment swings during recessions. Factories would lay off workers temporarily when the downturn hit, and then re-hire those same workers when demand picked back up.

But that’s increasingly no longer the case. Back in the 1981 recession, 20 percent of workers were laid off temporarily. This time around, just 9 percent were.

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It’s a bit of a vicious cycle: The past two recessions have hit manufacturing especially hard — and most of those jobs have not returned. And the resulting rise in permanent layoffs, in turn, has made the job recoveries harder and slower. As the Pew report details, it’s also one reason why there are now more than 4 million “long-term unemployed,” who have been out of work for more than a year.

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Read the full blog post, How the Decline in U.S. Manufacturing Makes Job Recoveries More Difficult, on The Washington Post's Wonkblog.

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