Home > Uncategorized > The problem with the return of manufacturing | Felix Salmon

The problem with the return of manufacturing | Felix Salmon

November 30, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

All of which means that there are two enormous problems with the story that manufacturing is returning to the US. That might be true, but (a) it’s not creating many jobs, and (b) the jobs it is creating are not the good jobs which people want to have for many years. Instead, they pay $15ish per hour, which is what teenage babysitters make in New York.

Once upon a time, in the halcyon 1950s and 1960s, a man could have a blue-collar factory job and make enough money to support a whole family. Those days are over now, but they echo still in the dreams of manufacturing returning to the U.S. The idea is that were that to happen, good jobs would magically be created. Where the reality is that manufacturing jobs are not good jobs any more: you’re better off working in retail, whether you’re in the US or in China. And you don’t need to spend unpaid years in college learning technical skills to get a retail job.

So while I’m as excited about the Internet of Things as the next guy, and I love any economy where ideas can become products with unprecedented ease, I don’t think that this is a particularly good solution to the unemployment problem. It’s better than nothing, of course. But I do get worried when The Atlantic splashes the word “COMEBACK” all over its cover: that makes this phenomenon seem much happier than in truth it is.

via The problem with the return of manufacturing | Felix Salmon.

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