Growth in this sector is occurring at the fastest rate since 1984.
Blue-collar jobs, long a small and shrinking part of the U.S. economy, are now growing at a faster clip than those in the nation’s much larger service economy. Many factors collided to produce the blue-collar boom. Some are linked to short-term boom-and-bust cycles, but others may endure.
The rapid hiring in blue-collar sectors is delivering benefits to areas that turned out heavily for Trump in the 2016 election, according to the Brookings Institution, a shift from earlier in this expansion, when large and midsize cities experienced most of the gains.
The biggest drivers of the blue-collar hiring surge are the rebound in oil prices, the need to rebuild after disasters such as Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, and rising demand generated by a growing economy.
.. The economy has added fewer jobs per month, on average, than it did during President Barack Obama’s second term.
.. Coal mining added about a thousand jobs in the year ending in July, according to the Labor Department. Steel and aluminum production have gained only a couple thousand, while businesses that use these metals are warning of heavy layoffs if Trump’s tariffs stay in place.
.. The real drivers of the blue-collar boom are construction and manufacturing, which have added hundreds of thousands of jobs in the Trump era. These industries benefit most from a strong global economy.
.. Only 13.9 percent of workers are employed in blue-collar professions, vs, 15 percent in government and 71.1 percent in the service sector. But “muscle jobs” still play an outsize role in some communities.
.. “In places like Ohio and Wisconsin, manufacturing is part of the DNA. Voters there know what was lost and they see who is hiring now,”
.. “There are manufacturing jobs available right now, but young people have moved on. An entire generation of Americans has forgotten about manufacturing as a career path,” Paul said.