Jobs report returns focus to manufacturing

Posted on February 14, 2014 by Minerals Make Life

With the release of January’s jobs report, focus has returned to the manufacturing sector, which displayed modest gains and underlying strength driven by the mining industry. While employers added a total of 113,000 jobs to the workforce in January, the report shows that construction firms, manufacturing and mining companies are responsible for 76,000 of those jobs combined.

Just this month, mining gained 7,000 jobs, compared with an average monthly gain of 2,000 jobs in 2013. Gary Burtless, an economist at the Brookings Institution, says, “You rarely see expansions in these industries without the economy being in fairly healthy shape.” Minerals mining, which is also a jobs creator in the manufacturing and construction industries, is one of the few sectors that is seeing expansion despite the otherwise sluggish U.S. job growth.

Moreover, for every job in metals mining, an estimated 2.5 additional jobs are generated, and for every nonmetals mining job, an additional 1.8 jobs are created. By creating high-paying jobs and providing the raw materials essential to manufacturing, minerals mining helps stimulate economic recovery and puts the U.S on a path towards long-term stability.

With an increased focus on domestic minerals production, the mining industry could provide a greater, diverse range of job opportunities, especially in areas of the country like Elko, Nev., where  a boom in gold mining helped the town avoid a devastating recession. Recently, companies like Apple and Walmart announced initiatives to move their manufacturing back to the United States, taking advantage of more competitive labor costs. With a more streamlined permitting process, these manufacturers could also benefit from a more stable supply chain, a concern for 78 percent of high-tech CEOs according to a PricewaterhouseCooper study.

While the economy continues to recover, it is the mineral industry that is setting the standard for the manufacturing sector. However, with outdated and lengthy permitting processes, the mining industry cannot fulfill its full potential. We encourage lawmakers to turn their attention to the bills that currently exist in Congress that will reform these outdated processes and allow the mining industry to create much needed jobs and in turn strengthen our economy.

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