Manufacturing Making a Turnaround Both Nationally and Regionally


The manufacturing industry has seen a number of challenges, but surveys and reports from a number of different industry segments have shown that there may be a resurgence in employment in the coming months and years.

According to Reuters, energy-intensive manufacturing is expected to see an increase. Through the year 2020, manufacturing jobs will grow by more than 1 percent annually. About 72 percent of those jobs are expected to be located in metropolitan areas.

The major catalyst for the new jobs is economic growth due to the recent domestic oil and natural gas boom. A recent report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors said that due to this energy growth, manufacturing employment in these areas is already spiking by as much as 1.7 percent per year since 2011. Crucial corners of this growth were reported to be fabricated metals and machinery.

From 2010 to 2012, these energy-intensive sectors were able to add nearly 200,000 jobs in major cities across the country. These industries have included steel, iron, fabricated metals and machinery alike. Employment in those areas grew by nearly double digits in recent years.

Further improvement in hiring is expected thanks to savings from cheaper natural gas. Not only is it freeing up opportunities for new jobs, but it's also helping fund retraining programs to better prepare workers just entering the field.

Regional growth just as notable

The growth of these manufacturing jobs is especially high in some areas of the country. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review recently reported that western Pennsylvania has been a major receptor for job growth. Its natural proximity to iron and steel reserves has allowed it to be a major leader in manufacturing jobs. Only Chicago beats out the Pennsylvania city when it comes to leaders in manufacturing.

Other specific manufacturing approaches in the city have shown similar prospects. Fabricated metals manufacturing, for one, will see growth of as much as 1.4 percent through 2020. Plastics and rubber production will see expansion as well, though it has been predicted to be somewhat muted in comparison to other specific disciplines.

Like the national growth, experts attributed this manufacturing strength to the oil and gas industry. Pennsylvania's growth is likely because of an increase in shale gas production and collection.

New Jersey sees new strength

Another region of the country benefiting from manufacturing's growth is New Jersey, according to NJ Biz. A recent manufacturer's register saw the state turn a 13-year manufacturing employment slump around, with more than 2,600 jobs created during 2013. Experts told the news source that high costs of business and global competition have harmed the manufacturing sector for the last decade, though investments and innovations in technology have helped turn the trend around. This will help the state's industries support more than 400,000 workers.

Growth was most commonly seen in the chemical manufacturing sector, which saw an increase of 5.4 percent during 2013. Food products, transportation equipment, rubber and plastics rounded out manufacturing's five top areas of growth.

However, there's work left to be done, according to the news source. Northeast New Jersey, near the New York City area, has seen less growth in hiring in the recent past, though there may be a turnaround soon. Difficulties were also seen in the housing sector, as lumber, stone, clay and glass saw reduced production, but strength in construction sales were expected to also improve potential hiring. The likelihood of further manufacturing growth nationwide, and the turnaround for the first time in more than a decade, lends faith to the state's markets, however.