Jobs Cont

Decline inevitable

Why do we have fewer Americans in the factories today? Is the current increase in factory jobs likely to be sustained? The fact that there are fewer people employed in the factories than was the case in the 70s does not imply that American manufacturing has been on the decline. On the contrary, the manufacturing sector has continued to grow over the years (except during some depressing periods such as the sub-prime crisis) but men have continued to lose jobs to robots. For this reason too, it is unlikely that the manufacturing sector will create jobs the way it did in the 70s.

Reason for optimism
While the jobs created might never reach what they were in the good old days, there is certainly reason for optimism. The government has the ability to increase the number of manufacturing jobs available and it could if it went ahead with its plans to increase its spending on major infrastructural projects. The government’s desire to undertake tax reforms could also provide the spur that the manufacturing sector needs.

How the present compares with the past
The 20 million people employed by the manufacturing sector in the 1970s represented 22% of the entire workforce in the US. Today, only 8% of people are employed in this sector. During the crisis of 2009, only 11.5 million people were employed by the manufacturing sector. And despite the recent positive signs, the number of people making a living from manufacturing is.

US Jobs on the Rise

US Manufacturing Jobs On the Rise But Still Way below the 1970s Levels

The new Republican administration came to office with the declared intention of increasing the number of manufacturing jobs available for Americans and it seems to be making progress in this direction. In contrast to the first few months of the Obama administration which saw an increase in service sector jobs such as retail and tech, the first few months of the Trump administration have seen a substantial increase in the number of manufacturing jobs created.

Between February and March 2017, the US economy benefitted from the creation of close to 40,000 new factory jobs and if this trend continues manufacturing could become one of the biggest employment sectors in a few years.

The manufacturing glory years
While recent developments paint a positive picture for the manufacturing industries, it is important to appreciate that the current factory employment levels come nowhere close to the days when this sector was a major employer.

The 1970s were the period when a huge proportion of the American workforce earned their bread from factory work. In those years, nearly 20 million Americans were employed in factories while today the number is just slightly above 12 million.

(Part One)