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Bloomberg Businessweek says: “Factory Jobs Are Gone. Get Over It.”

January 27, 2014

Although politicians and economists may have been aggravated by the article, the figures are impressive and worthy of study.

Manufacturing makes up 12% of the U.S. economy with only 10% of the non-farm workforce. Also, during the period from 1980 to 2012 there was a 189% gain in manufacturing output and a tripling of manufacturing output in the full 60 years reviewed. Interestingly, during the period from 1980 to 2012 the proportion of workers with some college education increased from 20% to 50%.

Sub-headers from the article said:

Politicians think creating millions of high-tech manufacturing jobs is the answer. It isn’t.

“What’s with the political fetish for manufacturing? Are factories really so awesome?”

The article asks the question do we want the kind of low-skilled, low-capital production once done here back? Or can we rely upon service industries to take up the slack? It suggests that you cannot fight income inequality with outmoded wishes for increased manufacturing jobs because it’s not going to happen. What do you think?

PS: This is not a U.S. problem. It is a global phenomenon, at least for many advanced economies. The decline in manufacturing’s share of U.S. GDP over the last forty years is nearly identical to the decline in world manufacturing as a share of world GDP, which fell from 26.6% in 1970 to 16.2% in 2010. It is a global trend as the world moves from a manufacturing-intensive “Machine Age” economy to more a services-intensive “Information Age” economy. Source: Information Technology & Innovation Foundation.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine


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Frank Tobe
guest author
Frank Tobe is the owner and publisher of The Robot Report, and is also a panel member for Robohub's Robotics by Invitation series.

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