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Getting smart about manufacturing in the U.S.

By January 1, 2017January 10th, 2017No Comments

Some of our friends/partner have written a series of articles on why the Trump administration is going to have a (very) hard time moving the needle with manufacturing jobs.

It’s not just that manufacturing jobs have moved to China. There are (at least) three other factors.

  • Automation and the rise of robots to do the low-end work will eliminate many jobs entirely.
  • What economists call “job density” meaning the number of jobs per entity in a particular industry sector like manufacturing is down, way down, due to increases in productivity per worker.
  • Shortage of workers with the right skills.

For these and other reasons, it’s important to focus on resilient jobs, that is jobs that provide a real stepping stone into the middle class. We define resilient jobs as jobs that meet the following criteria:

  • take advantage of a local supply chain (at least 50% of the product is made locally)
  • pay at least $20/hour
  • where workers with different skills are paid more for those skills
  • where the employer has some explicit focus on upskilling workers on an ongoing basis.

Here’s a short reading list, for those interested in “getting smart” about these issues.

For a checklist of what you can do locally to encourage manufacturing to flourish, go to