Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Future of Manufacturing

Richard McCormack, editor and publisher of Manufacturing and Technology News, offers a grim view of the state of manufacturing in America, but nothing he says will come as a surprise to listeners in Youngstown.  We know all too well not only that both the amount of stuff that America makes and the number of jobs involved have shrunk over the last 30 years.  And we know, too, how little federal policies are doing to change the trend. 

Equally important, we understand why manufacturing jobs matter.  The economic story of the Mahoning Valley illustrates this all too well.  Even beyond the high levels of unemployment locally, we can see how the shift from manufacturing to service jobs affects families and the community.  Service jobs pay less, often allow people to work fewer hours, and often fewer benefits than manufacturing jobs, and all of that matters not just to those who hold these jobs but to their families and the community at large.  After all, if people earn more, they also spend more, and a single manufacturing job can help support several more jobs in other sectors.  Some economics have suggested that the  U.S. can thrive by sending manufacturing jobs out of the country and focusing on research and design, management, and various forms of creative work.  As McCormick explains, that just doesn't work.  We need manufacturing, not just here in the Mahoning Valley but across the country.

You can hear more of Richard McCormack's analysis by checking out some of the videos from his visit, available now on the Center for Working-Class Studies website. 

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