JOBS / MANUFACTURING / FUTURE – Manufacturing coming home but jobs are not

JOBS / MANUFACTURING / FUTURE  U.S. Textile Plants Return. Sales up 37% since 2012 … $22.7B in sales… Jobs are not returning. Factories are being highly automated. Before exporting jobs, one North Carolina factory had 2,000+ workers and now can do the same level of production with just 140.

The good news is that rapid changes in technology will create an ever greater flood of ‘Made in America’ products available at reasonable or just below premium cost.

The bad news is that not many Americans will be involved in actually making anything that is ‘Made in America’.

Read More: NY Times story on Textile Manufacuring | Impact of Technology on Manufacturing and Jobs (PDF Report)

I am not arguing that we should fight automation. It is a good thing on the whole: providing quality products at reasonable cost.

My concern is that we talk about jobs, jobs, jobs and yet seem to have overlooked that the world has changed. The overwhelming majority of the unemployed, or underemployed, are not in that status because they want to be. We cannot on the one hand tell people to ‘go get a job’ and then take away food asssistance when there are few jobs to be gotten. That is an outdated strategy that may have worked when we were an agrarian society … but as you have probably heard: times have changed.

We need to move to a conversation about what the future looks like, and what the future means for the average American.