Good news for the beleaguered Rust Belt: Manufacturing output grew at a 9.1% rate in the first quarter of 2011, far outpacing the overall U.S. economic growth rate of 1.8%, according to the Federal Reserve. In all, manufacturers have added more than 250,000 jobs since the beginning of 2010—the first sustained increase since 1997.
The fastest growth in factory employment has come in the Upper Midwest states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. Pennsylvania has also posted strong manufacturing job numbers.
Note: Many new industrial jobs pay far less than in the past. Example: Average pay for workers at a Hoover vacuum cleaner plant in Ohio was more than $20 per hour before the company shifted production to Mexico. New jobs at the retooled factory—now it makes small appliances—pay just $7.50 per hour.
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