According to Business Insider, the manufacturing work week in the U.S. hit a new high in December of 2013. Notes Business Insider contributor Rob Wile: “the average hourly work week in manufacturing now averages 42, [the] most since 1945.” The boost could signify job growth in the manufacturing industry in 2014—and may have implications in the supply chain and procurement industries. 

The manufacturing sector was hit especially hard during the economic recession of 2007-09. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 2 million employees lost their jobs in this sector during this 18-month period. The average work week also fell by 2 hours.
Thankfully, due in part to both a stabilizing U.S. economy and to new legislation, the manufacturing industry seems to be turning a corner. While half a million jobs have been added since 2010, December of 2013 marked the first time that the average work week reached historically high levels.

While the improvement is encouraging, it should be noted that much work remains if the industry is to see a major recovery. A recent Congressional Joint Economic Committee report pointed to key areas of improvement as well as to areas where more improvement was needed in 2014. The report also noted that, while overseas production offered cheaper labor and manufacturing costs in previous. years, new costs for overseas work may lead some companies to open factories in the U.S.—potentially creating additional jobs for a portion of the 2 million workers who saw their jobs disappear in 2008.
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