By now, it’s no secret that the industrial brick industry is undergoing an existential crisis.
But a new report from The Center for American Progress says that while the industry is suffering, it isn’t the only one.
It cites a number of other sectors that have been hurt by the slowdown: retailing, telecommunications, health care, the transportation industry, the energy sector, and the manufacturing sector.
A key reason for the slowdown is that, in many of those sectors, demand has been weak and wages have been stagnant.
But the report’s authors point out that the industry’s slowdown is a good sign, because it can be the catalyst for a return to economic growth.
“If the industries that have experienced the most declines in wages and productivity have been those that are experiencing the most rapid recoveries, then the rest of the economy will recover as well,” said Ryan Calo, the report co-author and senior fellow at CAP.
“The industrial brick sector is one of those industries that’s actually showing signs of recovery.”
Calo and the rest are highlighting the fact that the decline in the value of the brick industry has been slow to reach its peak, despite the industry facing a number more pressing challenges.
The report found that in 2011, the brick sector experienced a 6.4% decline in GDP, which was the fourth-biggest decline of all sectors in the economy.
The industry experienced a 4.4 percent decline in employment, which ranked it in the bottom third of the jobs market.
The brick industry’s decline also was driven by two factors: an aging workforce and a decline in sales.
“Despite the fact the industry experienced record levels of growth and the unemployment rate is still at a low point, this industry has also experienced a huge decline in productivity,” Calo said.
“We’re seeing very high levels of absenteeism, we’re seeing a huge decrease in wages, and we’re experiencing very high costs for goods and services.
This is one sector that we’re very concerned about.”
The report notes that brickmakers are also struggling to retain skilled workers and maintain profitability.
In 2011, only 37% of brickmakers were working in a brickmaking capacity, and just 28% of those brickmakers had full-time employees.
In the future, the number of brickmaker jobs could decrease by 20% to 30% due to automation and a slowdown in the use of robots and robots in the industry.
That’s not to say that brickmaker firms aren’t working hard to create jobs.
In fact, one brickmaker in Pennsylvania, a major brickmaking center, reported that it was hiring 100 workers per week to help with operations.
But that’s a big job that can take time.
“It’s really a case of how long you can get people to come back,” said Calo.
“This is one that I think is going to be hard to get back.”