Press Release Economic Crisis and Recovery Workers

May Blue Collar Employment Generally Rises with Pandemic Recovery

June 26, 2020

Contact: Karen Conner, 2022814159Mail_Outline

But not all states recovered in May

Washington DC — May employment in construction, manufacturing, and mining and logging increased by 669,000 or 3.58 percent, largely reversing declines seen in April, according to CEPR data analyst Matt Sedlar in a new analysis in today’s Blue Collar Jobs Tracker. 

“With states right now focusing on reopening amid the ongoing pandemic, it’s not hard to imagine another downturn because businesses may not have a healthy workforce to keep operating,” writes Sedlar.

  • Construction

Pennsylvania saw the largest recovery with an increase in 77,400 construction jobs, a 48.86 percent increase over the previous month. The state is still 30,400 jobs below its pre-pandemic peak in February.

North Carolina experienced the biggest net loss in May with a drop in 400 jobs, a 0.18 percent drop from the previous month, followed by Iowa and North Dakota with net losses of 300, -0.43 percent, and 200, -0.72 percent, respectively. 

  • Manufacturing

Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee led states with largest increases in manufacturing jobs, with 33,700 (7.61 percent increase), 24,600 (4.91 percent increase) and 20,300 (7.01 percent increase)  jobs respectively. 

Oregon and Arizona led the states with the largest losses in the sector, with net losses of 4,900 and 2,600 jobs, respectively.

The National Association of Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey released at the end of May reveals a grim prediction for the sector, with 33.9 percent of manufacturers responding they have a very or somewhat positive outlook for their firm. According to NAM, this is the lowest this response has dipped since the first quarter of 2009.

  • Mining and Logging

The mining sector, in particular, has been on a downward trajectory since 2019, so it’s not surprising the sector is not recovering. Texas experienced the largest loss in mining and logging jobs, with a net decrease of 14,600 jobs, a 6.85 percent drop from the previous month. 

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Blue Collar Jobs Tracker is a project of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) created to take a closer look at the path of job growth in four major blue collar industries: manufacturing, mining, construction, and logging. 


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