HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » WaPo: American manufactur...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 06:39 PM

WaPo: American manufacturing is coming back. Manufacturing jobs arenít.

The discussion of American manufacturing is often a muddled one, steeped in nostalgia for a bygone era and accompanied by a certain misty-eyed conviction that it is a sector in ceaseless decline.

A new study from the McKinsey Global Institute published Monday morning adds some welcome clarity. In 184 pages, the in-house think tank of the global consulting giant presents a picture of manufacturing as among the most dynamic sectors of the U.S. and global economies, driving higher productivity and standards of living. But it also shows that what we usually think of as a traditional manufacturing job isnít coming back.

Manufacturing contributed 20 percent of the growth in global economic output in the decade ending in 2010, the McKinsey researchers estimate, and 37 percent of global productivity growth from 1995 to 2005. Yet the sector actually subtracted 24 percent from employment in advanced nations.

It is a story of robotics and other technologies improving at a remarkable rate, eliminating the need for factory floors crowded with workers doing manual labor. In the newest factories, one can look across an airplane hangar-sized floor and see only a small handful of technicians staring at computer screens, monitoring the work of the machines. Workers lifting and pushing and riveting are nowhere to be seen.

That means that the manufacturing jobs that do remain are very different from the old world, in which a man (it was almost always a man) without much education could show up at the door of a factory and have a multi-decade career at middle class wages assembling things.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/11/19/american-manufacturing-is-coming-back-manufacturing-jobs-arent/

Looks like automation is taking over manufacturing like mechanization took over the agricultural sector 100 years ago. It used to be that 90% of the workforce worked in agriculture until mechanization replaced most of those jobs.

11 replies, 999 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply WaPo: American manufacturing is coming back. Manufacturing jobs arenít. (Original post)
pampango Nov 2012 OP
LARED Nov 2012 #1
Mojorabbit Nov 2012 #2
Fumesucker Nov 2012 #3
amborin Nov 2012 #4
Igel Nov 2012 #7
marmar Nov 2012 #5
derby378 Nov 2012 #6
TexasBushwhacker Nov 2012 #8
Auntie Bush Nov 2012 #11
limpyhobbler Nov 2012 #9
bluestate10 Nov 2012 #10

Response to pampango (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:10 PM

1. Thanks informative. nt

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to pampango (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:17 PM

2. a plan for the future is needed. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to pampango (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:21 PM

3. Along with the vast robotic factories will also come small ones

With 3D printing, CNC machining, laser cutting and similar functions becoming much more accessible technologies small custom shops are going to be popping up all over making boutique products for niche markets.

Indeed they already are happening.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307720950/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0307720950&linkCode=as2&tag=thekneeslider-20

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to pampango (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 07:33 PM

4. informative; though the decision to adopt or implement various manufacturing technologies or practic

es is at bottom a political decision. There is no inexorable process of capital deepening.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to amborin (Reply #4)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:31 PM

7. In a sense.

Then again, so is deciding to buy a given toaster based on price.

Lots of little, narrow-viewed economic decisions constitute a grassroots policy. That makes them political.

Then again, often enough the decisions aren't narrow-minded. They're simply pragmatic. If you can't afford a more expensive toaster, then you just don't buy one. Nobody benefits.

If you can't make a viable product in the US using a lot of well-paid, career-building labor then you invest money and go bankrupt. The product will still be made, but abroad--and nobody in the US, apart from the US consumer, benefits. That has happened all too often.

It'll come unglued when the cheap labor markets have recourse to robotics. Then they'll have high unemployment and, well, we probably will, too (unless currencies have equalized).

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to pampango (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:12 PM

5. k/r

nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to pampango (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 08:20 PM

6. Machines don't take vacation, don't have to pick up kids at school, and DON'T STRIKE

That last one is pretty important, especially in the light of the Hostess Foods fracas. (And yes, I have stockpiled Twinkies.)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to derby378 (Reply #6)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:50 PM

8. They also don't get injured

But the manufacturing tech that has to watch the computer monitors and push the buttons on those robotics is a skilled worked making a decent living.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to TexasBushwhacker (Reply #8)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:26 PM

11. And they don't SUE.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to pampango (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:52 PM

9. awesome that means we can all work less now.

just kidding

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to pampango (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:03 PM

10. Sorry, but robots are here to stay. Robots will soon be in common use on farms. performing some

of the more tedious and physically demanding jobs. But robots need repair and programming, so there will be highly skilled workers on larger farms providing for those functions. Robots will be challenged to sort produce, so humans will still be performing that tedious task. I am of mixed feelings on this coming change. The number of workers needed to run a big farm will decrease, but produce coming from those farms should be less expensive, leading to lower food costs for consumers.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread