Manufacturing Jobs Boom — Outside New Mexico

The conservative website reports that the U.S. “added 31,000 manufacturing jobs in February and employment in the manufacturing sector has now increased by 263,000 since December 2016, the last month before President Donald Trump took office.”

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

The story’s a little more complicated than that. Whatever one’s opinion of The Donald, the resurgence of manufacturing employment in America began long before he took the oath of office. As the chart above shows, factory jobs bottomed out in March of 2010, at 11.453 million, and had climbed their way back to 12.369 million by January 2017, the month of Trump’s inauguration.

Aided by the cheap natural gas generated by fracking — Mark Ruffalo, call your office — and a continuous flow of foreign direct investment, America makes more stuff than it ever has. In real terms, the third quarter of 2017 saw “a new all-time high for real value-added output in manufacturing.” (See chart below.)

Source: National Association of Manufacturers

Unfortunately, manufacturing jobs in New Mexico are declining. The Land of Enchantment has experienced the complete opposite of the national trend:

Source: Rio Grande Foundation analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data

Contrary to protectionists and “deindustrialization” myth-spreaders, American manufacturing is in good health. It’s so vibrant, in fact, that despite productivity improvements spurred by technological innovation, a sustained rise in employment is underway — the first since the 1970s. But New Mexico isn’t participating in the rebound. NIMBYism, no right-to-work law, a cumbersome and favor-drenched tax code, an education monopoly that resists even minor changes, no significant regulatory reform — there are many reasons why goods-producing industries avoid the Land of Enchantment. Perhaps the 2018 election will yield enough politicians willing to implement the policy changes necessary to help the state finally join the nation’s manufacturing-employment growth.

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