The State-Level Manufacturing Jobs Score Since 1948

Last month, Colin Gordon of the Iowa Policy Project and I published a national analysis of job growth and loss in U.S. manufacturing by presidential term since 1948. Shortly thereafter, we came across state-level data that allowed us to replicate our "manufacturing jobs score" analysis in each of the 50 states.

We summarized our findings in a new policy brief this week, with a focus on regions and some individual states, including Pennsylvania.

Each of four multi-state regions and 43 of the 50 states experienced more job loss (or smaller job gains) in the nine Republican administrations combined than across the seven Democratic administrations combined.

A sample of findings from individual states:

  • In New York, about 1.3 million jobs were lost in Republican administrations and about 120,000 gained in Democratic terms.
  • In Pennsylvania, nearly 1.1 million manufacturing jobs were lost in Republican administrations, while 280,000 were gained in Democratic terms.
  • In Michigan, about 750,000 jobs were lost in Republican administrations and about 250,000 gained in Democratic terms.
  • In Wisconsin, 135,000 manufacturing jobs were lost in Republican administrations, while 200,000 were gained in Democratic terms.
  • In North Carolina, 110,000 manufacturing jobs were lost in Republican administrations and 185,000 gained in Democratic terms.
  • Florida experienced little manufacturing job change, on net, across all Republican administrations but gained nearly 200,000 jobs under Democratic terms.
  • In Colorado, about 3,000 jobs were gained under Republican administrations, versus 83,000 to 90,000 jobs under Democratic terms.
    

Manufacturing Jobs Gained or Lost by Presidential Administration, 1948-2011

Manufacturing Jobs by Presidential Administration Since 1948

     Click here for an interactive chart of manufacturing jobs gain or loss by state since 1948 Click here for an interactive chart of manufacturing jobs gain or loss by state since 1948

We think that both luck and policy played a part in these results. Not trade policy, of course, since Republican and Democratic policies differ little in that area. But macroeconomic policy, given the relatively greater priority placed by Democrats on job growth compared to inflation, likely played a role.

Manufacturing-specific policies also may have had an impact — the most prominent recent example being the auto industry rescue in 2009. Over a longer period of time, Democratic presidents have also been more supportive of technical assistance to small- and medium-sized manufacturers.

Whatever the full explanation, the facts on the manufacturing jobs score deserve careful consideration, especially by citizens and policymakers in manufacturing-intensive states and regions.

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