Bucking the conventional wisdom


The statistics are fairly brutal.  America has lost over seven and a half million manufacturing jobs since 1979.  We lost two million between 1979 and 1999, almost three and a half million between 1999 and 2007 and an additional two million plus during the great recession.  Yet the response from many main stream economists to these huge drops in manufacturing  employment is, “Sad yes, but these declines are a natural consequence of the increased productivity of American manufacturing workers.  We are making the same amount of stuff, but because we are so productive we need less workers to do so.”  Now I am no economist, but if U.S. manufacturing workers got twice as productive, wouldn’t we just make twice as much stuff?  It’s not like we have an annual quota for boot production that leads to an adjustment in the number of cobblers for next year based on the productivity gains of the cobblers this year.  Well, it appears I may be onto something.  An article questioning the conventional wisdom regarding U.S. manufacturing productivity gains was recently published by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.  Also, there was a recent Washington Post article on the same subject which mentions the Foundation’s article.  Both pieces are interesting and I recommend you consider reading them both to better understand the causes of the huge manufacturing job losses in our country over the last two decades.

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About tapirking

I live in Seattle and love telling stories about Americans, the places where they work and the things that they make.
This entry was posted in american made, Made in America, made in usa, Outsourcing, Trade and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Bucking the conventional wisdom

  1. It is dismal that the state of American manufacturing is worse than even the statistics say. I was enlightened by the data that demonstrated 2 million jobs in manufacturing were lost during the Reagan, 1st Bush and Clinton (20 years), but 3.5 million jobs lost during Bush even before the recession started (8 years). If there were a vote today, outsourcing would be illegal. And trade deficits mean nothing to multi-national corporations, to them it is the same as transferring money from bank account to another, or another analogy, transferring money from one pocket in a jacket to another one (the other one being the preferred pocket, China, because of their artificially under valued Yuan). It is hard to get action from Washington on American manufacturing, because the politicians are either wealthy (especially the Senate), or beholden to the corporations. It will take a big grass roots movement to get something done. Too bad the Occupy Movement has not grasped this issue, and it doesn’t seem to be the Tea Party’s cup of tea. -Jack A

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