"The health of the U.S. manufacturing sector is of ongoing interest to Congress. Numerous bills aimed at promoting manufacturing have been introduced in Congress, often with the stated goal of creating jobs. Implicit in many of these bills is the assumption that the manufacturing sector is uniquely able to provide well-paid employment for workers who have not pursued advanced education. U.S. manufacturing output has risen significantly over the past five years as the economy has recovered from recession. This upswing in manufacturing activity, however, has resulted in negligible employment growth. Although a variety of forces seem likely to support further growth in domestic manufacturing output over the next few years, including higher labor costs in the emerging economies of Asia, higher international freight transportation costs, and increased concern about disruptions to transoceanic supply chains, evidence suggests that such a resurgence would lead to relatively small job gains within the manufacturing sector. Manufacturing wages are below those in many other industries and are declining in relative terms, suggesting that the modest resurgence in manufacturing activity has not improved the bargaining power of workers in the manufacturing sector."
CRS Report for Congress, R41898