The latest jobs report was released this morning, and it's reasonably good news. An estimated 192,000 non-farm jobs were added in February, including 33,000 manufacturing jobs. That's on top of the 49,000 manufacturing jobs that were added in January, the highest monthly gain in that sector since August, 1997. Overall, the US has added about 185,000 new manufacturing jobs over the past year.

So things are looking up for blue collar workers, right? Recovery is just around the corner, if not already well on its way.

Well, not exactly. Pull back a little to take a look at the big picture, and this recent recovery is just a blip at the end of a decade of decline that has been truly devastating to the manufacturing sector and the blue collar workers it employs:

US manufacturing jobs, 2000-2011
  • Alliance for American Manufacturing
  • US manufacturing jobs, 2000-2011

That's right, even as Wall Street boomed during the go-go Bush years, the US was shedding millions of good paying manufacturing jobs... the kinda job that could elevate a factory worker into the middle class. And now that these jobs are lost, exported overseas, what is the solution proposed by Republican politicians and their Wall Street patrons? Strip away the wages and benefits of millions of public employees, you know, just to even everything out. What's fair is fair, right?

Perhaps The Stranger demographic isn't exactly the most targeted audience for my pro-labor rants, but if you don't think the beating down of workers in one segment of the economy won't be used to beat down workers in the others—including yours—then you don't know economics.