A new study by the University of Texas and the University at Buffalo, looking at the effects of metal processing in Texas, finds that some of the state’s largest cities have seen dramatic declines in metal processing jobs in recent years.
But in some places, the effects are less dramatic, and in others, jobs are increasing.
The study found that in 2016, the number of steelworkers in the state increased by 7.5 percent from 2016 to 2017, but the number in 2017 dropped by 3.7 percent.
The number of welders rose by 8.2 percent, but that fell by 1.2 percentage points, the study found.
And the number working in the chemical industry rose by 5.1 percent, while the number at the metal processing plant dropped by 4.1 percentage points.
“We don’t know why the job losses are so drastic, but we do know that the job market is pretty bad right now,” said lead author and Tarrant County professor of economics and business economics Anthony Kallman.
“And it is the combination of all of these trends that are keeping the economy from recovering,” he said.
Kallmann and his colleagues found that manufacturing employment declined from an estimated 18,000 jobs in 2020 to 12,000 in 2021.
Meanwhile, the metal-processing industry declined by 6.1 jobs from 2021 to 2022, and the chemical-manufacturing industry dropped by 2.6 jobs.
Those numbers are similar to those of 2016, when metal-producing cities like Houston and San Antonio lost 1.4 and 3.4 percent of their manufacturing jobs, respectively.
The most populous county in Texas — Dallas — saw a net loss of 1,000 manufacturing jobs.
The region also saw a significant increase in the number and percentage of manufacturing jobs lost in 2017.
In 2017, about 2.4 million jobs were lost in Texas.
About 11.4,000 of those jobs were in the manufacturing sector.
The report was released in partnership with the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Council for an Industrial Economy, and The American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
In its report, the organizations found that metal-based manufacturing employs about 1.1 million people in the United States.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated in April that manufacturing, which includes steel, aluminum, and plastic, employs about 21.2 million people.
The economic impact of metal manufacturing has been a hotly debated topic in the Texas legislature and among lawmakers in other states, particularly as they grapple with the opioid crisis.
In Texas, lawmakers have considered and passed several bills that would require employers to post signs warning employees about metal-working hazards.
The metal-plating industry, which employs some of those workers, has argued that such signs would make it more difficult for the state to pass a law that would make sure workers were trained in proper metal-manufactoring procedures.
The industry has also said it has lost jobs because the state does not have enough metal workers.
In a report last year, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute found that the number that left the state for a job that was not related to metal-making rose by about 100,000 between 2016 and 2017.
The institute also found that Texas’ metal-production sector lost 1,300 manufacturing jobs in the first half of the decade, compared to an overall employment gain of 3,400 jobs.