Trends in manufacturing employment

By André Bernard

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Manufacturing lost more than one in seven, or nearly 322,000, jobs between 2004 and 2008. In 2004, the industry accounted for 14.4% of total employment. In 2008, this proportion was only 11.5%.

Textiles and clothing, long one of the largest manufacturing employers in the country, was hardest hit. From 2004 to 2008, this industry lost nearly half of its workers.

The automobile industry was also hit very hard. From 2004 to 2008, one in five motor vehicle manufacturing jobs and more than one in four motor vehicle parts manufacturing jobs were lost.

The country's very large cities were hit as hard as small towns and rural areas. The latter were also as likely as very large cities to replace lost manufacturing jobs with jobs in other industries, particularly in the service sector or in construction. However, in small towns and rural areas, these new jobs often paid much less.

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