State-level manufacturing job growth has varied across the 16 presidential administrations since 1948, with significant gains in most states across the seven Democratic terms and significant losses under the nine Republican, according to The Manufacturing Jobs Score, 1949-2011, a new analysis of official government data by the Keystone Research Center (KRC) and Iowa Policy Project (IPP). The Democratic administrations have added an average of between 160,000 and 250,000 manufacturing jobs each year, while Republican ones have lost manufacturing jobs at about the same rate.
Some of the discrepancy may be due to the timing of economic downturns when Republican presidents were in office, but policy differences likely played a role as well, according to the authors.
Click here for an interactive chart of manufacturing jobs gain or loss by state since 1948
“How much luck or policy differences explain these results is open to debate and further research,” said KRC Executive Director and economist, Dr. Stephen Herzenberg. “But as we’ve been reminded by the auto industry rescue of 2009, policy choices matter when it comes to building a stronger manufacturing sector.”
The two think tanks undertook an analysis of manufacturing jobs in the wake of debate about the overall “jobs score” under Republican and Democratic presidents spurred by former President Bill Clinton’s speech to the Democratic National Convention. Manufacturing jobs have particular significance because they pay better to equivalent groups of workers than jobs in other sectors. Manufacturing also leverages more related employment (up and down the supply chain and in consumer industries) and more export growth than other sectors.
“These are big differences” said Dr. Colin Gordon, a senior research consultant at IPP. “If the manufacturing jobs score under Republicans had matched that under Democrats, the U.S. would have roughly twice as many manufacturing jobs as it does today—the U.S. manufacturing jobs share today would be similar to Germany’s…