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Stepping through these industry sectors leaves an abiding realization of the extraordinary breadth and depth of these job losses.  The damage has been so widespread that it is useful to attempt to pull the tally of job losses into a comprehensible summary, and consider:

  • How many jobs were lost from the peak (typically either in 1990 for an industry in decline, or in 2000 for a previously healthy industry),
  • What if any recovery has occurred, and
  • What the net losses have been from the peak through 2014. 

The following tables report values for these criteria for each industry subsector (three-digit NAICS code) and for each of our industry groups:


Job Losses by Percentage

Which industries have been hit hardest?  The following table tallies these criteria by industry grouping, ranked by the percentage of jobs lost from peak to 2014:


  • Three industry groups lost most (apparel and textiles), or nearly half (computers and electronics and furniture and wood products) their jobs with no recovery at all.
  • Two industry groups (paper and printing, and primary metals and appliances) lost nearly half their jobs and experienced a negligible recovery, with a net loss of more than four in ten jobs.
  • Three industry groups (autos and transportation equipment, plastics and nonmetal mineral products, and fabricated metal products and machinery), experienced significant job losses followed by a moderate recovery, but remain 23% to 28% below their peak employment. 
  • Petroleum manufacturing lost one in four jobs with little recovery, and food manufacturing remained relatively untouched, with ten percent net job losses. 

Losses by Number of Jobs

Which industries have seen the largest number of job losses?  The following table tallies these criteria by industry grouping, ranked by the number of jobs lost from peak to 2014:

  • Two groups, apparel and textiles and Computers and electronics experienced job losses of well over and just under one million jobs, respectively.
  • Three groups experienced job losses of over 600,000 jobs.
  • Three groups experienced job losses of over 500,000 jobs.
  • Two groups, petroleum and coal products and food and miscellaneous nondurable products, experienced job losses of well over and just under 200,000 jobs, respectively.

All Manufacturing

In sum –

  • At their peak, either in 1990 or in or around 2000, the manufacturing subsectors collectively employed 18.48 million workers. 
  • At their bottom, either in 2014, or in or around 2010, they employed 11.38 million workers, a loss of 7.1 million, or 38% from their peak employment.
  • Although there have been some gains in some industries since the low of 2010-2012, in most cases jobs are still well below their pre-2008 recession levels and far below their 1990 and 2000 levels.  From their bottom to 2014, as a group they recovered 805,000, or 11% of the lost jobs. 
  • In 2014, they employed 12.19 million workers, a loss of 6.3 million, or 34%, from their peak employment – more than one out of every three jobs. 

It is fair to say that, at least with respect to employment, reports of a manufacturing recovery, much less a manufacturing “renaissance,” like the reports of Mark Twain’s death, have been greatly exaggerated.

The direct results of the trade in goods deficit, these deep and pervasive manufacturing job losses, are bad enough: But what effects are these job losses having on the rest of the economy?  We now consider indirect results. 

GO TO Indirect Results.

News and Events

May 15, 2014, Ontario, CA - MIAA's founder, Jim Stuber, delivered the keynote address at the 20th annual World Trade Conference sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the California Inland Empire District Export Council in Ontario, California.  To view the conference agenda, click here:

New file download

May 7, 2015, Radnor, PA.  MIAA's founder, Jim Stuber, appeared as the guest of host Richard J. Anthony, Sr. on The Entrepreneur's Network TV at Radnor Studio 21.  The program featured a discussion of the problems caused by offshoring manufacturing and white collar jobs and how consmers can solve the problem with their spending decisions. 

Studio 21 has made the program available for viewing here:

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