I browsed the web for this topic, as I wasn't quite sure where to start. I knew that I wanted to talk about manufacturing and jobs going over seas. But my opinion altered some after reading the following article:
Made in USA Is Alive and Well: Manufacturing Goes High-End and the USA is Still the Global Leader
I wouldn't say it changed it completely, but it did make me more aware which was the point. I was going to come in saying how it's terrible how jobs are all going overseas, blah, blah, blah. But after reading this article, I had an "ah I see" moment. It basically lined up a few simple facts: yes a lot of the production for our lower cost items is going overseas, because let's face it, we can't compete with the wages or the amount of people willing to do the job. BUT what I didn't know is that US manufacturing is still doing well. Extremely well, in fact:
"The U.S. by far remains the world's leading manufacturer by value of goods produced. It hit a record $1.6 trillion in 2007 -- nearly double the $811 billion in 1987. For every $1 of value produced in China's factories, America generates $2.50" (Perry).
So we're still outputting a ton of goods, and making a lot of money off of it. According to the article, we're building things that no one else can build! We've moved high-end. We're making military planes, weapons and parts for space shuttles. It's exciting, right? Then how come people keep complaining that jobs are going overseas? Well, they are. But we're producing so many goods still! We're still making so much money from manufacturing products! That's all true as well.
Our problem is that we're just too productive. You heard me. The reason we can produce so many goods, and make so much money and STILL continue to lead the world in manufacturing as far as numbers go is that our workers are so much more productive. What this means is that companies can get rid of more employees because the ones they have continue to produce more each year. "Once this recession runs its course, surviving manufacturers will emerge more efficient and profitable, economists say. More valuable products will be made using fewer people" (Perry). This does say a lot for our productivity and work ethic, but it means less jobs. That's great that the companies that survive the recession will come out of it more profitable, but if they also come out of it not needing to replace the people they cut during the recession, then it's definitely not improving job prospects for anyone.
The point is, that being aware of these things helps you see the world around you better and have a deeper understanding of what' s going on. I get that the numbers are there for the companies, they are profiting still. And when you hear that guy complaining about all those jobs heading overseas, you can correct him. Sure, some of the jobs are being sent over there but the truth is, we're just too productive. Companies don't need to employ as many people as they did in order to get the job done. Beneficial to the businesses, but it sucks for the job market. Hopefully, however, we will use our productiveness and develop all kinds of innovations that will help spur the job market forward in the stead of all our manufacturing jobs.