Manufacturing has long been one of the most common occupations in the United States. During what can be considered the golden age of manufacturing in America, tens of millions of Americans were employed in manufacturing everything from food to furniture to factory-produced parts. . In June 1979, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded the peak in the number of people employed in the sector, 19.6 million Americans worked in manufacturing.
Forty years later, that number has dropped to 12.8 million. That’s a full 35% drop from 1979, with 6.7 million fewer Americans working in manufacturing jobs. This decline can be attributed to several factors. Chief among them is technology, with many manufacturing jobs being automated using machines. Another main factor is outsourcing, in which many factories have moved overseas, where workers generally perform the same work for lower wages.
Between 2020 and 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic has also had a significant impact on manufacturing, forcing many businesses to close for a period of time and causing significant supply chain disruptions. Labor shortages are forcing some manufacturers to raise wages to compete with other industries like hospitality that are drawing from the same pool of employees.
Although manufacturing in the United States isn’t what it used to be, there are still plenty of Americans engaged in manufacturing work. And for those who trade in everything from carpentry to tailoring to welding, many wages are paid by the hour. But not all manufacturing workers are paid the same, with differences not only by occupation but also by geographic region.
Get It Made used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to find the median hourly wage for manufacturing workers in every state in the United States. The analysis includes all roles that the BLS classifies as “production occupations,” which range from food manufacturing to machining.
Read on to see how manufacturing salaries compare in various US states.