Manufacturing employment soars to highest level since 2008. That’s good for the U.S. economy.

The National Association of Manufacturers comments on the Bureau of Labor Statistics report released last week. NAM economist Chad Moutray writes,

On Friday, we learned that manufacturers added 31,000 workers in February, continuing to hire new employees at a solid pace. Indeed, the manufacturing sector has increased employment by 264,264 workers since the end of 2016, averaging 18,876 per month over that 14-month time frame.

Since the end of the Great Recession, manufacturing employment has risen by 1,161,000 workers, with 12.61 million employees in February, the highest level since December 2008.

While manufacturers operate much more leanly than before the recession, the upward momentum since then has been quite stunning, with the sector more globally competitive and the outlook quite bright.

It’s a a very short commentary, which points out a concern that we’ve cited often:

With the economy operating at “full employment,” it should not be a surprise that manufacturers would cite the inability to attract and retain a quality workforce as their top concern in the most recent NAM survey.

Last week, we wrote of manufacturing’s importance in rural economic development and expressed our disappointment with the Legislature for not providing tax relief to the sector this session. It’s encouraging to see the continuing employment recovery.