Eric Wieffering has covered Minnesota's economy and business community for more than two decades. His column appears two to three times a week, including Sunday.

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Manufacturing report comes with fat asterisk

Posted by: Eric Wieffering under Business trends, The economy Updated: January 3, 2012 - 4:32 PM

Stocks zoomed Tuesday on a better-than-expected report from the nation's factories.

A rebound in the manufacturing sector? Maybe, but don't expect a hiring binge to come with it.

Manufacturing was one of the few sectors that was losing jobs before the economy tumbled into recession: nearly 3 million between from the beginning of 2001 through the end of 2006. Another 2.5 million manufacturing jobs have disappeared since then.

Meanwhile, the uptick in manufacturing jobs that got everyone talking about a new dawn for the manufacturing sector? It amounts to a gain of less than 300,000 jobs in the last 22 months.

The story is no better in Minnesota, which has 100,000 fewer manufacturing jobs than it did in 2000. Most will not be coming back.

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