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The manufacturing slide


The California Workers' Compensation Institute just issued a bulletin showing that comp claims generated by California durable goods manufacturing workers accounted for 1 in 14 job injuries in the state during 2008, down from 1 in 9 in 2001.

The bulletin contains demographic information on claimants in California's durable goods sector along with medical and indemnity loss information for the population. But what Comp Time found most interesting is what the research says about the steep decline in manufacturing in the state. That accounts for much of the fall in claims.

I asked Bob Young at CWCI about it and he referred me to a chart on the California Manufacturers & Technology Assn.'s website showing a steep (scary if you will) downward slope. The slope shows manufacturing jobs in the state decreased from 1.886 million during January 2001 to 1.286 million by November 2009.

The trend isn't limited to the current recession or just to the Golden State.

Bob also referred me to a Feb. 3, 2010, Wall Street Journal article “Radical Shifts Take Hold in U.S. Manufacturing.” The story essentially says the decline in manufacturing is occurring across the country, although some industries such as semiconductor production are growing.

The WSJ story also says these are not short-term changes, but part of a long-term structural shift. You have to ask what that means not just for comp claims, but for long-term changes in comp premium production and comp services.