Manufacturing jobs in the U.S. appear to be coming back—if ever so slightly.
Several American firms, including Caterpillar, GE and Ford, have announced they're shifting some manufacturing operations back to the United States, mainly because of increasing production and energy costs overseas.
And since January of 2010, the United States has added 520,000 manufacturing jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are currently 12 million manufacturing jobs on record in the United States.
But the U.S. is clearly in catch-up mode.
A report released last year by Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) said that manufacturing in the U.S. declined more in the last decade than it did in the Great Depression.
The ITIF says that translates into some 5.7 million lost jobs in manufacturing— at an "average loss of 1,276 manufacturing jobs every day for the past 12 years."
In fact, in January 2012 there were more unemployed Americans (12.8 million) than there were Americans who worked in manufacturing (just under 12 million) the ITIF said.
"We are never going to see manufacturing in this country like it was before," said Tony Cherin, a finance professor emeritus at San Diego State University. "We've become a more service and information industry economy, and while manufacturing is still important, it doesn't carry the weight it once did."