With the increases in employment layoffs being reported each month, there is the continuing reference to lost manufacturing jobs in the United States and the “blame-game” of these jobs going to other countries.
It is true that we have lost manufacturing jobs here in the United States but maybe it is not for the same reasons that were reported by several campaigns during the last series of elections…
Walter Williams has a great article about the status of manufacturing jobs here in the United States and other industrial countries and the findings may surprise you. He also cautions against “protectionism” tactics being used as promised by the Presidential candidate Obama…
"In each of the past 60 years, U.S. manufacturing output growth has averaged 4 percent and productivity growth has averaged 3 percent. Manufacturing is going through the same process as agriculture. In 1900, 41 percent of American workers were employed in agriculture; today, only 2 percent are and agricultural output is greater. In 1940, 35 percent of workers were employed in manufacturing jobs; today, it's about 10 percent. Again, because of huge productivity gains, manufacturing output is greater."
"The decline in manufacturing employment is not limited to the U.S. Since 2000, China has lost over 4.5 million manufacturing jobs. In fact, nine of the top 10 manufacturing countries, which produce 75 percent of the world's manufacturing output (the U.S., Japan, Germany, China, Britain, France, Italy, Korea, Canada, and Mexico), have lost manufacturing jobs but their manufacturing output has risen."
"The people who face foreign competition, say management and workers in the auto industry, are well organized, have narrowly shared interests and the resources to have considerable clout in Washington to get Congress to enact trade barriers. Restricting foreign competition means higher prices for their products, and hence higher profits and fuller employment in their industry."
"The people who are benefited by foreign competition, say auto consumers, have widely dispersed interests; they are not organized at all and have little clout in Washington. You never see consumers descending on Washington complaining about cheap prices for foreign products; it's always domestic producers who do the complaining."
"Some might reason that since Japan places restrictions on U.S. products entering their country, an appropriate retaliatory measure is not to allow Japanese products to freely enter the U.S. By the way, Japanese protectionist restrictions on rice imports force Japanese consumers to pay three or four times the world price for rice. "