ATLANTA – Manufacturing jobs are on the decline in Georgia and across the U.S. — a trend largely brought on by a wave of new technology and movement of jobs overseas — and the future doesn’t look much better, according to a new report released by the Center for State and Local Finance.
Manufacturing jobs have clearly been declining in the U.S. since 1979 and in Georgia since 2000, and as of 2014, manufacturing accounted for less than 7 percent of total employment in the U.S. and Georgia.
“The economic forces driving the change in manufacturing employment are very substantial, and neither the United States nor Georgia is likely to be able to reverse them,” the study states.
On an annual basis, manufacturing employment fell by 9,874 jobs a year between 2000 and 2014 — an annual rate of decline of 2.12 percent. By 2014, there were 389,819 remaining Georgia jobs, a 27.5 percent decrease over time.
If trends continue without intervention, by 2035 there could be as much as a 67 percent drop in manufacturing jobs over 2014, suggests the study’s author David Sjoquist, a professor at Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.
“Manufacturing jobs may increase in the short run as the United States continues to recover from the Great Recession,” he said in the study. “However, there is no expectation that manufacturing jobs will continue to grow once the United States has fully recovered from the Great Recession.”
Although Sjoquist lays out a bleak picture of future manufacturing jobs in Georgia, he also provides a number of key policy considerations. They include:
- Georgia should consider adopting programs and policies that encourage the development and growth of new manufacturing facilities within Georgia.
- Georgia should consider developing programs and policies that would reduce the likelihood that plants would seek to relocate.
- Georgia should consider developing programs and policies that assist existing plants to adopt new technologies in existing facilities.
- Given the trends, Georgia should consider how much emphasis to place on manufacturing jobs. Would Georgia be better off focusing on other industrial sectors that pay higher-than-average wages?
- Georgia could consider developing programs and policies that prepare existing manufacturing workers for expected changes in required skill levels for redesigned or new jobs, either with their existing employer or a new employer.
Download a copy of “Employment and Wage Trends in Manufacturing” at https://cslf.gsu.edu/files/2016/08/Employment-and-Wage-Trends-in-Manufacturing_August-2016.pdf?wpdmdl=7676.