50 Manufacturing Sectors That GREW Over The Past 10 Years

So we all know that US manufacturing is hemorrhaging jobs. As domestic income and production costs increase, it makes it increasingly difficult for US manufacturers to keep their operations in-country.

However, manufacturing is a very important generator of capital and without it our economy would have to find new ways to bring much-needed export-based dollars into our economy. Lately, as this recent WSJ post points out, we are seeing improving output in manufacturing.

So here is a quick look at 50 manufacturing sectors that actually gained jobs from 2001-2011. This is the first in a series of posts on the topic. Next we will take a closer look at the relationship between jobs and exports to see if jobs really is the best metric for measuring the overall health of the sector.

Below is a table of the 50 sectors that grew from ’01-11. Here are some basic observations about the list:

  • Ethyl alcohol manufacturing – The US has become a massive consumer of ethanol, which is based on federal regulations aimed at domestic fuel consumption. The industry currently employs about 11,000 workers and grew by 227% in 10 years. No other industry comes close in terms of percentage growth. This is a great illustration of how government intervention can actually “create jobs.” But here is a caveat –  increased regulation has resulted in rising gas and corn prices, which likely cancel out economic gains from employment growth. Also note, regulations tend to influence economic behavior far more than stimulus spending (contrast demand for ethanol with the Solyndra example).
  • Plastic packaging manufacturing – This sector grew by 143% over the last 10 years. It is a fairly small sector with only 233 establishments and 14,300 employees. This sector is related to the food industry at large (packaging for foods); all told, 40% of the top 50 industries are food related.
  • Military armored vehicle, tank, and tank component manufacturing – This sector grew by 84%, and much like ethyl alcohol, can be explained as a result of government activity. There are only 80 establishments that produce under this category, but they added about 5,000 workers. Also, just over 20% of the companies on the list are related to aerospace and defense.
  • Wineries – Wineries gained some 22,000 jobs and grew by 82% in the last 10 years. Since 2008, during a down economy, wineries’ growth slowed to 4.1%. One would imagine that the demand for something like wine would actually decrease as the economy tanks. About 50,000 people work at wineries. Data from the federal government indicates about 2,700 establishments, but wine-related publications report that there are currently about 5,000-6,000 domestic wineries. Our establishment figures are from QCEW, so they don’t include small nonemployer/proprietor operations. Also, wine industry publications include something called “virtual wineries” which don’t actually own facilities or equipment, so that helps explain the discrepancy too. Overall in the U.S. wineries are still expanding in almost all 50 states, wine consumption is increasing, and global demand for U.S. wines remains healthy.

Other observations:

  • Machine shops, which has the highest level of employment for our top 50 and 21,000 establishments, grew by 2% and added about 6,400 jobs.
  • Manufacturing related to health care is doing well – For instance surgical and medical instrument manufacturing grew by 12% or 13,000 jobs; in-vitro diagnostic substance manufacturing grew by 55% or 7,400 jobs, and electromedical and electrotherapeutic apparatus manufacturing grew by 8,000 jobs or 15%. Not really any surprises here.

Surprising industries:

  • Digital printing (nearly 50% growth and 10,000 jobs) and sign manufacturing (nearly 7,000 jobs and 7% growth) really surprised us. We are wondering if all those signs are related to all the road construction that came from ARRA spending.
  • Cut stone and stone product manufacturing grew by 17% or 3,700 jobs, which appears to be the only industry on the list directly related to construction.
  • Women’s and girls’ cut and sew blouse and shirt manufacturing grew by 47% or 3,600 jobs, which seems impressive given the downfall of textiles. Interestingly, the cut & sew apparel mfg. industry growth is almost entirely in Los Angeles. The industry was declining nationally until 2007 when it took a sharp turn upward. Due to the small number of big employers involved, it could be (we would have to research it a bit more) an instance where one company like American Apparel decides to change its NAICS, leading to a drop in one industry code and rise in another, closely related industry code. Either way, American Apparel’s success is a small counter-current in the overall implosion of the US textile industry.
NAICS Code Description 2001 Jobs 2011 Jobs Change % Change 2011 Earnings 2010 Establishments
325193 Ethyl Alcohol Manufacturing 3,272 10,695 7,423 227% $87,647 276
326112 Plastics Packaging Film and Sheet (including Laminated) Manufacturing 5,879 14,296 8,417 143% $66,570 233
336992 Military Armored Vehicle, Tank, and Tank Component Manufacturing 5,501 10,134 4,633 84% $93,322 81
312130 Wineries 27,531 49,988 22,457 82% $62,601 2,733
332995 Other Ordnance and Accessories Manufacturing 3,711 6,219 2,508 68% $84,804 103
311991 Perishable Prepared Food Manufacturing 24,584 38,988 14,404 59% $37,677 927
332992 Small Arms Ammunition Manufacturing 7,367 11,467 4,100 56% $61,053 104
325413 In-Vitro Diagnostic Substance Manufacturing 13,444 20,809 7,365 55% $109,505 352
323115 Digital Printing 20,894 30,809 9,915 47% $53,979 2,292
315232 Women’s and Girls’ Cut and Sew Blouse and Shirt Manufacturing 7,768 11,421 3,653 47% $41,919 188
327992 Ground or Treated Mineral and Earth Manufacturing 4,791 6,793 2,002 42% $87,941 164
333132 Oil and Gas Field Machinery and Equipment Manufacturing 48,327 66,550 18,223 38% $96,439 1,211
311942 Spice and Extract Manufacturing 16,126 21,842 5,716 35% $74,973 494
337212 Custom Architectural Woodwork and Millwork Manufacturing 15,116 20,218 5,102 34% $55,843 1,214
311221 Wet Corn Milling 9,185 12,077 2,892 31% $96,261 72
311920 Coffee and Tea Manufacturing 13,409 17,468 4,059 30% $60,660 528
331528 Other Nonferrous Foundries (except Die-Casting) 6,333 8,249 1,916 30% $76,921 137
333611 Turbine and Turbine Generator Set Units Manufacturing 22,746 29,445 6,699 29% $99,042 341
311830 Tortilla Manufacturing 15,224 18,918 3,694 24% $38,396 488
326111 Plastics Bag and Pouch Manufacturing 28,216 34,030 5,814 21% $59,330 462
311813 Frozen Cakes, Pies, and Other Pastries Manufacturing 9,478 11,281 1,803 19% $46,083 216
311512 Creamery Butter Manufacturing 1,895 2,254 359 19% $62,663 43
311911 Roasted Nuts and Peanut Butter Manufacturing 11,559 13,578 2,019 17% $50,479 233
327991 Cut Stone and Stone Product Manufacturing 21,893 25,610 3,717 17% $47,851 2,231
332994 Small Arms Manufacturing 9,819 11,431 1,612 16% $65,130 278
334510 Electromedical and Electrotherapeutic Apparatus Manufacturing 54,336 62,432 8,096 15% $106,602 1,054
331492 Secondary Smelting, Refining, and Alloying of Nonferrous Metal (except Copper and Aluminum) 9,702 11,147 1,445 15% $81,555 257
325414 Biological Product (except Diagnostic) Manufacturing 24,194 27,791 3,597 15% $116,275 400
332420 Metal Tank (Heavy Gauge) Manufacturing 26,163 29,953 3,790 14% $64,543 828
339112 Surgical and Medical Instrument Manufacturing 107,547 120,421 12,874 12% $101,211 1,830
325920 Explosives Manufacturing 6,527 7,298 771 12% $79,795 93
334517 Irradiation Apparatus Manufacturing 11,708 13,069 1,361 12% $111,532 326
311513 Cheese Manufacturing 38,116 42,396 4,280 11% $56,825 561
336611 Ship Building and Repairing 92,336 101,195 8,859 10% $75,497 778
336415 Guided Missile and Space Vehicle Propulsion Unit and Propulsion Unit Parts Manufacturing 12,087 13,224 1,137 9% $112,097 71
339950 Sign Manufacturing 92,392 98,964 6,572 7% $50,493 6,804
311111 Dog and Cat Food Manufacturing 19,625 21,010 1,385 7% $72,642 378
332410 Power Boiler and Heat Exchanger Manufacturing 21,950 23,450 1,500 7% $78,614 357
312140 Distilleries 6,971 7,444 473 7% $104,118 149
311225 Fats and Oils Refining and Blending 6,036 6,306 270 4% $63,673 138
339116 Dental Laboratories 49,807 51,841 2,034 4% $52,534 7,513
311941 Mayonnaise, Dressing, and Other Prepared Sauce Manufacturing 13,745 14,250 505 4% $58,071 308
311412 Frozen Specialty Food Manufacturing 56,146 57,934 1,788 3% $47,479 590
336414 Guided Missile and Space Vehicle Manufacturing 53,367 55,036 1,669 3% $136,988 209
332710 Machine Shops 272,253 278,622 6,369 2% $57,115 21,108
311612 Meat Processed from Carcasses 110,138 112,430 2,292 2% $48,604 1,568
336413 Other Aircraft Parts and Auxiliary Equipment Manufacturing 99,164 100,548 1,384 1% $83,588 1,563
334511 Search, Detection, Navigation, Guidance, Aeronautical, and Nautical System and Instrument Manufacturing 149,042 150,862 1,820 1% $118,095 1,217
311822 Flour Mixes and Dough Manufacturing from Purchased Flour 15,495 15,642 147 1% $56,193 290
327410 Lime Manufacturing 4,206 4,242 36 1% $74,388 88
Total 1,707,119 1,932,075 224,956 13% $75,237 63,883
Source: EMSI Complete Employment – 2011.3

For fun we have included a more in-depth look at two of the top industries: ethyl alcohol manufacturing and wineries. Images and data come from Analyst.

ETHYL ALCOHOL MANUFACTURING

Here is a look at the occupations that staff the sector. Chemical plant and systems operators compose 14% of the workforce.

In this chart you can see the very rapid growth that the ethyl alcohol manufacturing sector has experienced. Note: the dotted line after 2011 indicates projected growth given current industry trends.

WINERIES

Here is a quick look at the staffing pattern for wineries. Eleven percent of the workers in wineries are working as packaging and filling machine operators and tenders.

Finally, here is the trend line. Again, the projected line is based on historic trends and should not be thought of as a “forecast.”

CONCLUSION
Manufacturing in the U.S. still remains in flux. Most sectors are still shedding jobs, and there is a lot of discussion about how to turn domestic manufacturing around. In subsequent posts we will be bringing the concept of exports into the equation. Stay tuned.

If you would like to look at other sectors, please contact us.

Post by Rob Sentz. Illustration by Mark Beauchamp.

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