Friday, February 25, 2011

The Truth About U.S. Manufacturing

[ It’s a pleasure to reproduce positive posts!The doom and gloom about our productivity just isn’t true. In fact, it just might be a statist push to make us think we need them all the more. Don’t you believe it! – JS ]

By Mark Perry at the WSJ

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…The truth is that America still makes a lot of stuff, and we're making more of it than ever before. We're merely able to do it with a fraction of the workers needed in the past.

 

Consider the incredible, increasing productivity of America's manufacturing workers: The average U.S. factory worker is responsible today for more than $180,000 of annual manufacturing output, triple the $60,000 in 1972.

Farmer plowing in Fahrenwalde, Mecklenburg-Vor...Our world-class agriculture sector provides a great model for how to think about the evolution of U.S. manufacturing. The U.S. produces more agricultural output today—with only 2.6% of our work force involved in farming—than we did 100 years ago, when farming jobs represented almost 40% of the labor force. Likewise, we're able to produce twice as much manufacturing output today as in the 1970s, with about seven million fewer workers. That means yesterday's farmhands and plant workers can become today's computer engineers, medical doctors and financial managers.

I don't deny that the transition to this new economy can be a rough one for displaced workers. But turning back the clock to a less efficient economy is not the answer. Instead, let's retrain our work force to participate in this dynamic new economy—an economy that still supports America's status as the world's leading manufacturer. Please read it all …