consequential changes to the U.S. labor

 It’s been one of the most consequential changes to the U.S. labor market over the last several decades: Manufacturing jobs have disappeared as assembly lines have become increasingly automated and as companies find it is cheaper to make their goods overseas.

In 2003, nearly 15 million Americans were employed in manufacturing jobs, but that number had dipped below 12 million by 2013.

The trend hasn’t been as crushing in the Washington region as in Rust Belt cities such as Detroit and Youngstown, Ohio, because manufacturing is one of the smaller slices of this area’s economy. Still, the trajectory for manufacturing jobs here hasn’t been much different from national trends: The industry shed 20,000 jobs in this region between 2003 and 2013, a 27 percent decrease.

But despite the losses, there are still nearly 50,000 people employed locally in manufacturing jobs, a sign that some companies in this sector are still finding reasons to make their products stateside.

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