Don’t They Understand that Manufacturing Jobs Aren’t Coming Back?

LET’S GET REAL. Many of those blue-collar jobs lost over the past half century, and at an increasing rate during the Great Recession, are gone forever. Globalization means that capital flows quickly to countries with the lowest wages, and it flows so quickly that companies that left the United States for China are now leaving China, where wages have risen, for lower-cost countries like Vietnam. And importantly, although the problem of companies “sending jobs overseas” has become a populist rallying cry, advances in automation and productivity are actually responsible for much of the decline in manufacturing work.199 Making steel just doesn’t require as many people as ...

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