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Economic Briefing Blog

Manufacturing Pays

Historically, manufacturing jobs have offered relatively high pay, good benefits, and job security. However, as the economy has changed, the manufacturing sector's reputation for offering higher-paying jobs has been called into question – but our research rebuts this criticism.  In a new short report  available on the Department of Commerce's Office of the Chief Economist's website, we use ten federal datasets to compare the average pay of manufacturing employees to the average pay of private sector employees and find that a pay premium still exists.

What is Natural Capital? New York Roundtable Considers the Question, Evokes Teddy Roosevelt

Columbia UniversityThe third natural capital business roundtable took place in New York City on September 18th, in collaboration with Columbia University's Earth Institute. The natural capital roundtables bring together industry leaders, academics, government officials and non-governmental organizations to identify opportunities and challenges associated with integrating natural capital values into companies' business models. These sessions are helping to inform the development of a Commerce Department natural capital website featuring data, case studies, tools, methodologies, best practices, and other information that businesses have identified as important for decision-making.

Natural Capital in the Big Apple: Upcoming Roundtable Set for Columbia University’s Earth Institute

North Carolina CoastHosted by the Commerce Department, the third natural capital business roundtable in a series focusing on coastal regions is set to take place September 18th at Columbia University's Earth Institute. The three target industries for the day-long New York City meeting will be financial services, real estate development/construction, and re/insurance.

New Research Will Help U.S. Businesses Assess Costs Everywhere

Assess Costs Everywhere (ACE) has been recently revised with more modern, up-to-date information. ACE is a resource developed by the Office of the Chief Economist in the Department of Commerce to outline the hidden costs and risks U.S. firms need to consider when evaluating the location of manufacturing operations and supply chains. ACE was originally launched in April 2013, and we are constantly reviewing it to ensure the data and research are current.

Highlights from our newly updated research include:

Supply Chains Take on Larger Role in Manufacturing

In March, the Department of Commerce and the White House released "Supply Chain Innovation: Strengthening America's Small Manufacturers." One of the figures in that paper showed that supply chain costs, as a percentage of manufacturing shipments, have grown over the past two decades, from 52 percent in 1992 to 59 percent in 2012.1 Those percentages were gleaned from Economic Census data published every five years, and they paint an interesting picture of the growing importa

Brainstorming Natural Capital in Cleveland

GM's Dr. Susan Smyth and DOC Chief Economist Dr. Sue Helper confab in ClevelandOn June 12th, a team from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA) headed to Cleveland, OH for the second of five Department of Commerce Natural Capital Business Roundtables. The roundtables will inform development of a DOC website to help businesses incorporate natural capital in their planning and operations. Natural capital includes the air, water, soil and living resources that provide a range of goods and services on which the global economy depends. 

What Do We Know About Temporary Help Workers in the United States?

Employment in the temporary help services industry continues to grow and reached an all-time high in June, after adding 20,000 jobs. This industry now accounts for 2.4 percent of all private sector jobs in the U.S. economy. 

Data Jobs Will Keep Adding Up

Simple arithmetic tells us that data jobs are good.  They pay well, have low unemployment rates, and are expanding across many industries. More complicated arithmetic projects a bright future of growth.  Over the decade ending 2022, employment in data occupations—in which data analysis and processing are central to the work performed—is projected to grow 14.5 percent, faster than the 10.4 percent projected growth of ("for") non-data jobs. Research first published in The Importance of Data Occupations in the U.S. Economy highlights that these jobs not only are multiplying, but that they pay more than $40 an hour on average.  Data workers also are very unlikely to be unemployed.   This blog examines projected future growth in this field, courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2012-2022 employment projections.

Second Natural Capital Business Roundtable Set for June 12th in Cleveland

First roundtable held in Houston on April 16th and hosted by the Center for Energy Studies at Rice  University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.On June 12th, a joint team from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA) will head to Cleveland, OH, for the second in a series of five Department of Commerce Natural Capital Business Roundtables. The information needs that businesses identify during the roundtables will shape the development of a Commerce Department website to help businesses improve their bottom lines by considering natural capital in planning and operations. Natural capital includes the air, water, soil, and living resources that provide a range of goods and services on which the global economy depends.

Recent Trends in Manufacturing

Since the Great Recession, manufacturing has experienced a period of growth. In our June 2014 report, Manufacturing Since the Great Recession, Ryan Noonan and I provided an overview of recent trends in manufacturing. This blog updates those facts.  What we find is that while manufacturing is still recovering, the rebound has slowed somewhat in recent months.

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