U.S. manufacturing is officially in a recession, after output shrank over two consecutive quarters this year, making an issue that helped put President Donald Trump in office one of those that could derail his re-election bid.
The Los Angeles Times reported that “after adding nearly half a million jobs in the prior two years, which Trump frequently stressed in hard-hat rallies throughout the Midwest, manufacturing employment has stalled.”
Layoff announcements have replaced job growth this year, particularly in manufacturing-heavy states like Pennsylvania and Michigan — both of which Trump won in the last election, partly on a promise to restore American manufacturing.
And while it only makes up about 10 percent of the country’s economic activity, a steep enough slowdown in manufacturing has the potential to drag other industries along with it.
“The faltering industrial sector has started to crimp businesses in the transportation and warehousing sectors,” The Times noted. “And there are growing worries of spillover effects in the larger services sector and broader economy.”
Trump’s first two years in office proved a boon for U.S. manufacturing, during which time about half a million new jobs were added. But analysts and business leaders point to Trump’s own policies as reason for this year’s decline — his unrestrained use of tariffs and trade wars with China and other countries.
Trade tensions are unlikely to ease much between now and election time, analysts predict, meaning “little relief on tariffs and continued uncertainty for businesses, which will keep manufacturing limping along.”