Getting smart about manufacturing in the U.S.

7 years ago   •   2 min read

By Marcia Kadanoff

Some of our friends/partner have written a series of articles on why the Trump administration is going to have a (very) hard time moving the needle with manufacturing jobs.

It’s not just that manufacturing jobs have moved to China. There are (at least) three other factors.

  1. Automation and the rise of robots to do the low-end work will eliminate many jobs entirely.
  2. What economists call “job density” meaning the number of jobs per entity in a particular industry sector like manufacturing is down, way down, due to increases in productivity per worker.
  3. A shortage of workers with the right skills.

For these and other reasons, it’s important to focus on resilient jobs, that is jobs that provide a real stepping stone into the middle class. We define resilient jobs as jobs that meet the following criteria:

  • take advantage of a local supply chain (at least 50% of the product is made locally)
  • pay at least $20/hour
  • where workers with different skills are paid more for those skills
  • where the employer has some explicit focus on upskilling workers on an ongoing basis.

Here’s a short reading list, for those interested in “getting smart” about these issues.

For a checklist of what you can do locally to encourage manufacturing to flourish, go to

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