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Jobs Boost Fuels Hope for U.S. Industry

Financial Times (01/17/12) Crooks, Ed

The U.S. has added more net manufacturing jobs since the start of 2010 than the rest of the Group of Seven developed countries put together. Employment in U.S. manufacturing stands at approximately 11.79 million, still about two million below its prerecession level. However, productivity gains and slow wage growth have prompted increasing hopes that the U.S. is entering a sustained manufacturing revival.

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, says: “I think we are at an inflection point for manufacturing in the U.S. Employment in the industry has been in decline for decades, but it is now at a point where it is going from quite strong to stronger.” However, Brad Jensen, of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, argues that “manufacturing is not really where the U.S. comparative advantage lies,” adding that the nation should be looking to business services—including finance, the media, and professional services—as sources of jobs and export income.