Detroit is back. Carmakers are set to to hire more than 13,000 members of our extended American family this year after hiring 38,000 people last year. The new hires make about $16.00 an hour, about half of the wage of legacy workers. Mind you, we have to make up a lot of ground. Starting in 2005, the Big Three closed 28 factories and cut 88,000 jobs. Suppliers of parts for the Big Three cut 234,000 jobs during the same time period. So we have a lot of ground to make up. But no doubt about it, this is very positive.
Also, I wanted to alert you to a wonderful new study about manufacturing just released by the Brookings Institution. Titled Why Does Manufacturing Matter? Which Manufacturing Matters?it examines the two main alleged culprits for declines in manufacturing employment in this country over the past couple of decades, productivity gains and outsourcing. I recommend it very highly. One of the authors, Howard Wial, studies manufacturing for Brookings and writes extensively on the subject.