MOBILE, Ala.—The U.S. has added about
650,000 factory jobs since their numbers rebounded after the recession, putting
manufacturing workers at 12.1 million and reversing a long
decline in such jobs. But uneven growth has created
regional disparities in the nation's overall economic recovery.
Mobile County is among the winners.
Shipbuilder Austal Ltd.'s
facility here is busy seven days a week as workers piece together enormous
aluminum sheets in a space the size of 13 football fields. It has added
thousands of jobs since 2008 and plans more, thanks to huge U.S. Navy contracts.
Airbus Group and BAE Systems
PLC, too, are adding
factory jobs here. Mobile County created more
manufacturing jobs than all but 15 U.S. counties after September 2009, and such
jobs were up 31% in the county.
U.S. factory-job gains—driven by a range of
factors from cheaper domestic energy to the auto-industry recovery—have
concentrated in pockets since the recession, particularly in the Southeast and
Midwest, a Wall Street Journal analysis of Labor Department data shows. Gains
often have clustered in places like Mobile where taxes are low and unions are
But private-sector manufacturing jobs
declined in 38% of the counties in the Journal analysis of data from September
2009 and September 2013.
Among the worst slides has been in Onondaga County, N.Y., where
factory jobs fell 17%. A smokeless brick chimney juts from rusting ruins in the
county, where a dinnerware plant near Syracuse closed in 2009 after 138 years. A
Lockheed Martin Corp. electronics plant has cut jobs to about 1,600 from
roughly 2,300 in 2009. Unlike Mobile, Syracuse hasn't attracted major new
Manufacturing jobs help
a healthy economy because
they often create support jobs in other businesses, such as packaging,
transportation and other services. But the uneven factory-job recovery is
blunting a hoped-for boost to the overall U.S. economy, says Mark Muro, policy
director of the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program.
Click herefor the full article in the Wall Street Journal.