Key points:

  • In the 1950s, manufacturing represented about 30% of the national workforce, though as the economy has shifted to services, manufacturing employment dropped to about 20% of all US jobs in 1980 and 9% in 2016.
  • Workers with associate’s degrees were the only group without a bachelor’s degree to see net gains in good jobs—about 250,000 jobs—between 1991 and 2016.
  • About 10% of manufacturing workers have an industry certification or license, and those with one of these credentials are more likely to have a good job than those who do not have one.
  • Whites and Blacks without a bachelor’s degree lost good jobs in manufacturing, while Latinos without a bachelor’s degree gained good jobs as they grew from 9% to 16% of the manufacturing workforce between 1991 and 2016.
  • Between 1991 and 2016, men without a bachelor’s degree lost nearly 2 million good jobs, or 31%. Although women lost fewer good jobs, they experienced a larger proportionate decline than men, at 43%
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