Blue Collar Jobs Surge in South and Southwest in May

Employment in manufacturing, construction and the combined mining and logging sectors grew by 47,000 in May

Center for Economic and Policy Research

Employment in the blue collar jobs industries of manufacturing, construction, and the combined mining and logging sectors grew by 47,000 in May.

By region, the Southeast and Southwest both saw manufacturing employment increase by 0.3% last month (7,200 and 4,400 jobs respectively). Over the past year, the Southwest has experienced more manufacturing job growth in percent and absolute terms than any other region, at 3.1% or 39,700 jobs.

Several states saw increases in construction employment in May. The number of construction jobs grew by 1.5% (2,300 jobs) in Louisiana; 1.6% in Michigan (2,700 jobs); 3.1% (900 jobs) in Maine; 3.2% (600 jobs) in Rhode Island; and 8.7% (2,100 jobs) in North Dakota.

The mining and logging industry gained 4,000 jobs in May, an increase of 0.5%. The majority of these jobs were in support activities for mining. These jobs include contract and fee-based work, such as surveying and service unit operation.

Manufacturing, which saw significant job losses during the Great Recession, has recovered a large share of jobs lost. However, many of these jobs have come from a surge in employment in the South and West rather than the former industrial belt of the Midwest.