U.S. Manufacturing Employment Seen Stabilizing

After seeing jobs flee overseas for decades, the U.S. manufacturing industry has recorded significant increases in employment in the last few years. This trend, often called reshoring, has been fueled by both increases in labor costs in countries such as China, and a rise in transportation costs that has made domestic production more appealing.

Yet the extent of the revival in U.S. manufacturing activity has been uncertain, as some companies and industries have continued to move production overseas in a bid to cut costs. A study by Regional Plan Association for the NAIOP Research Foundation, a trade group for the commercial real estate industry, found that reshoring of manufacturing to the U.S. has halted a decades-long trend of job decline, but yielded no net growth. Some industries have added jobs, the research found, while others have shed them. The U.S. manufacturing sector is expected to level off at roughly 11 million jobs between now and 2020, after losing six million jobs between 2000 and 2010.

Growth in manufacturing will be concentrated in certain industries, including fabricated metals, plastics, wood, non-metallic minerals and furniture products. The industries projected to decrease their use of manufacturing space the most are computer and electronic products, chemical products, apparel, electrical products, and textiles.

The full study is available here.