Manufacturing’s been on everyone’s lips lately.  Economists are extolling its recent growth and policy makers, both Democrats and Republicans, are suggesting we should promote it further.

But NWLC’s new report, A “Man”ufacturing Comeback:  Men’s and Women’s Employment Gains and Losses in 2011 has a few facts about manufacturing that no one’s mentioned yet:

MANuFACTuring statistic #1: In 2011 manufacturing employment increased for the first time in more than a decade, with annual average employment rising by 205,000 jobs.  Unfortunately, women did not share in these gains.  In fact, between 2010 and 2011 men’s annual average employment in manufacturing increased by 230,000 jobs while women’s dropped by 25,000 jobs.  This divergence was a change from the trend during the recession, when the declines in manufacturing employment were borne proportionately by women and men.

Change in annual average employment in manufacturing, 2010-2011

MANuFACTuring statistic #2: In three of the four highest-paying manufacturing fields with potential for job growth, women’s employment declined while men’s increased between 2010 and 2011, and in the fourth, gains went disproportionately to men.

Change in annual average employment in the highest manufacturing sectors, 2010-2011


MANuFACTuring statistic #3: In ten other sectors where employment increased between 2010 and 2011, gains went disproportionately to men.

MANuFACTuring statistic #4: In seven other sectors where employment decreased between 2010 and 2011, women bore a disproportionate share of the declines.

MANuFACTuring statistic #5: Between 2010 and 2011, there was not a single manufacturing sector where women’s employment increased while men’s decreased, though the reverse was true in 10 sectors.

Women need to be part of this comeback.  To make this happen, policy makers, schools and businesses need to get women the job training they need and make sure they’re protected from discrimination and harassment at work.  They need to ensure that in 2012 “made in America” means made by all Americans.