Job Growth in Manufacturing

Posted on September 14, 2017 by Previous Colleague Doug Rice

While the U.S. manufacturing sector employed about 1.8 million fewer workers in 2016 compared to ten years prior, many industries within the sector have posted solid to robust job gains.

At the six-digit NAICS[1] code levels, 18 manufacturing industries expanded by at least 8,000 jobs over the last ten years (2006 – 2016). While there is some diversity within these industries, there are several clusters where most of the employment growth has occurred.


Manufacturing Industries Adding the Most Jobs, 2006-2016
NAICS Industry Empl, 2016 Avg Ann Wages, 2016 Total Empl Change, 06-16 Avg Ann % Chg in Empl, 06-16
312,120 Breweries 59,194 $50,516 33,185 8.6%
312,130 Wineries 61,518 $44,231 24,785 5.3%
311,811 Retail Bakeries 93,919 $22,287 21,074 2.6%
311,991 Perishable Prepared Food Manufacturing 50,839 $35,217 17,884 4.4%
336,413 Other Aircraft Parts and Auxiliary Equipment Manufacturing 107,850 $70,941 16,391 1.7%
336,611 Ship Building and Repairing 132,982 $70,853 13,103 1.0%
339,112 Surgical and Medical Instrument Manufacturing 120,583 $81,806 12,270 1.1%
336,360 Motor Vehicle Seating and Interior Trim Manufacturing 72,658 $51,459 11,762 1.8%
311,612 Meat Processed from Carcasses 122,722 $44,514 11,213 1.0%
325,413 In-Vitro Diagnostic Substance Manufacturing 25,298 $100,275 9,376 4.7%
326,112 Plastics Packaging Film and Sheet (including Laminated) Manufacturing 19,923 $59,786 8,927 6.1%
311,920 Coffee and Tea Manufacturing 23,478 $50,064 8,758 4.8%
333,611 Turbine and Turbine Generator Set Units Manufacturing 28,584 $85,184 8,718 3.7%
311,919 Other Snack Food Manufacturing 41,402 $49,961 8,429 2.3%
336,411 Aircraft Manufacturing 232,964 $104,124 8,274 0.4%
323,113 Commercial Screen Printing 79,213 $35,964 8,264 1.1%
311,513 Cheese Manufacturing 46,335 $53,875 8,168 2.0%
335,228 Other Major Household Appliance Manufacturing 20,557 $62,744 8,116 5.2%
Source: JobsEQ® [2]


Alcoholic Beverage Manufacturing

Breweries and wineries top the list of manufacturing industries with the largest number of job gains over the last ten years, with 33,185 and 24,785, respectively. These industries plateaued during the Great Recession, not declining like manufacturing overall. Following the recession and its residual effects, wineries and breweries have been growing at a steady rate—and establishment counts of breweries have been expanding nearly exponentially.



Food and Other Beverage Manufacturing

In addition to breweries and wineries, other food and beverage manufacturing industries also number among those with the most job growth during the last decade. Within this time frame, retail bakeries and perishable prepared food manufacturing expanded by 21,074 and 17,884 jobs, respectively. Meat processed from carcasses grew by 11,213 jobs. Other snack food manufacturing, coffee and tea manufacturing, and cheese manufacturing each expanded by between 8,000 and 9,000 jobs over the last ten years.

All food and beverage manufacturing industries[3] combined added 149,716 jobs to the economy over the last decade.  

Transportation Equipment Manufacturing

Another significant contributor to manufacturing employment growth over the last decade is transportation equipment manufacturing. Other aircraft parts and auxiliary equipment manufacturing grew the most within this group, adding 16,391 jobs. Ship building and repairing and motor vehicle seating and interior trim manufacturing were close behind, expanding by 13,103 and 11,762 jobs, respectively. Finally, aircraft manufacturing also contributed to growth in this group, expanding by 8,274 jobs over the last decade.

Other Industries

A few other noteworthy industries that contributed significantly to recent manufacturing employment growth include surgical and medical instrument manufacturing and in-vitro diagnostic substance manufacturing, expanding by 12,270 and 9,376 jobs, respectively. Both of these are related to healthcare: the former is a subset of the medical equipment industry and the latter a subset of the pharmaceutical industry.

Other industries rounding out the most significant contributors to manufacturing job growth over the last decade are plastics packaging film and sheet manufacturing, turbine and turbine generator set units manufacturing, commercial screen printing manufacturing, and other major household appliance manufacturing, each expanding by between 8,000 and 9,000 jobs.



[1]NAICS stands for the North American Industrial Classification System. NAICS codes begin at the two-digit level (referred to as “sectors”) and subdivide into industries down to six digits (as shown in the table).

[2] Industry data compiled in JobsEQ are based on covered employment from the QCEW, published by the BLS, with self-employment calculations imputed by Chmura Economics and Analytics

[3] For the purposes of this piece, “all food and beverage manufacturing industries” is defined as the combination of NAICS codes 311 and 3121.

This blog reflects Chmura staff assessments and opinions with the information available at the time the blog was written.