January 10, 2003
Though overall unemployment held steady in December at 6 percent, the continued loss of manufacturing jobs “has reached crisis proportions,” said Jerry Jasinowski, president of the National Association of Manufacturers.
The Labor Department employment report for the final month of 2002 showed that overall payroll employment fell by 101,000 and manufacturing lost another 65,000 jobs. “That was the 29th consecutive monthly decline in manufacturing employment and the largest in the last 10 months,” Jasinowski said. “Since July 2000, we have lost more than two million manufacturing jobs. These are the people who transform raw materials into finished products. They are the most skilled industrial workers, the very heart of our economic power and critical to our competitive leadership in the world marketplace. We simply cannot afford to ignore this ominous trend any longer.”
The overall economy has grown by 3.2 percent over the past four quarters, but manufacturing output has edged up just 0.8 percent. Also, today’s report shows that the final shopping month of the holiday season was less robust than normal. Retail employment dropped 104,000 in December. This is an early indication that consumer spending, which was accelerating in the previous two months, uncharacteristically slowed during the 2002 holiday season.
“Those who criticize President Bush’s economic growth proposal just don’t understand that we need additional incentives for investment and job creation,” Jasinowski said. “This erosion of our manufacturing work force is a real and present threat to our nation’s economic leadership and national security. President Bush recognizes this and has designed an economic growth proposal that will boost capital investment and create jobs. If people want to propose serious changes in the plan, that’s fine, but the President’s proposal deserves prompt consideration by Congress.”
The National Association of Manufacturers is the nation’s largest industrial trade association. The NAM represents 14,000 members (including 10,000 small and mid-sized companies) and 350 member associations serving manufacturers and employees in every industrial sector and all 50 states. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the NAM has 10 additional offices across the country.
Be sure to visit our award-winning web site at www.nam.org for more information about legislative, policy and workplace developments affecting manufacturers, employees and the economy.