New U.S. Commerce Department Report: Manufacturing Jobs Provide Higher Pay, More Benefits

6 Jun, 2012

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA) released “The Benefits of Manufacturing Jobs,” an analysis of wages and benefits of manufacturing workers, which finds that total hourly compensation for manufacturing workers is 17 percent higher than for non-manufacturing workers. This includes premiums in both wages and employer-provided benefits, such as health insurance and retirement plans.

The report finds that in addition to higher compensation for manufacturing jobs, the share of manufacturing workers with more than a high school degree has been steadily increasing, and now more than half of all manufacturing workers have at least some college education. Further, manufacturing jobs are more STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) intensive than non-manufacturing industries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, manufacturing employment has expanded by nearly 500,000 jobs or 4 percent since January 2010 — the strongest cyclical rebound since the wake of the dual recessions in the early 1980s.

“Today’s report is welcome and important news on America’s job front: manufacturing employment means higher wages and important benefits for Americans and their families,” said Commerce Secretary John Bryson. “My priority as Commerce Secretary is to support American manufacturers in building things here and selling them everywhere, and today’s analysis underscores the importance of the resurgence in U.S. manufacturing to our middle class.

This report reaffirms that manufacturing is a matter of fundamental importance to our country’s economic strength, so we must do everything we can to continue to build an overall environment where U.S. manufacturing can flourish, and that means we need to stop rewarding companies that ship jobs overseas, and start rewarding those that bring jobs back to the U.S., as President Obama has asked Congress to do.”

Specific findings from “The Benefits of Manufacturing Jobs” include:
• On average, hourly wages and salaries for manufacturing jobs are $29.75 an hour compared to $27.47 an hour for non-manufacturing jobs. Total hourly compensation, which includes employer-provided benefits, is $38.27 for workers in manufacturing jobs and $32.84 for workers in non-manufacturing jobs, a 17 percent premium.
• Even after controlling for demographic, geographic, and job characteristics, manufacturing jobs maintained significant wage and benefit premiums.
• The educational attainment of the manufacturing workforce is rising steadily. In 2011, 53 percent of all manufacturing workers had at least some college education, up from 43 percent in 1994.
• The innovative manufacturing sector relies more heavily on STEM education than non-manufacturing. For instance, nearly 1 out of 3 (32 percent) college-educated manufacturing workers has a STEM job, compared to 10 percent in non-manufacturing.
• Higher educational attainment for manufacturing workers carries higher premiums and the size of the premium, including or excluding benefits, increases consistently with educational attainment.
• Furthermore, the compensation premium has risen over the past decade across all levels of educational attainment.

In April, the Commerce Department released “Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus,” a comprehensive report co-produced by ESA and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) which found that IP-intensive industries support at least 40 million jobs and contribute more than $5 trillion dollars to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).

A full copy of the new ESA manufacturing employment report can be found online at

Visit ESA’s website to read more about this report and other topics on the economy at http://www, . Follow ESA on Twitter @EconChiefGov.