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Mark Atwood
Manufacturing jobs going overseas?
The 11% drop in manufacturing jobs in the US means those jobs went to lower-labor cost countries like China, right?

Well, no, not so much.

Turns out that labor input to manufacturing has been falling worldwide. In the time that the US lost 11%, China lost 15%...


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chemicallace From: chemicallace Date: November 10th, 2003 10:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Odd. I expected the jobs would have been lost to increased use of machines that could do the jobs for them. Although fewer and more productive employees is better from a company's standpoint, I'd imagine machinery is yet even more cost effective and I have to wonder what kinds of manufacturing we're talking about.

Although, under the right conditions it's almost certainly cheaper to have few, productive, low paid workers in some foreign country in the short term and I'd be interested to see what happens to all of these jobs once automation becomes easier for all of them. Will we hold onto the idea that humans should be doing at least some of the work? Imagine if we could even have machine overseers (robots), would we still cling to having a factory staffed by humans for job reasons or would laws be passed to preserve jobs? You can't really make people less productive, but you can pass laws to protect jobs and stall progress.

The original report (found here) does address the idea that companies will have to embrace new technologies to stay ahead as you can only push people so far. A real steady job is already starting to see like a luxury to many people I've been around these days and it will be quite interesting to see how jobs evolve over the next 25-50 years.
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