While the overall picture may not appear to be good for the manufacturing sector of our economy, when you dig a little deeper you might be surprised at what you see. Over the past decade, our economy has shed more than 5 million American manufacturing jobs. That number has come in a number of different ways, work being transferred to Mexico or overseas, company closures and automation.
The ability for a company to find ways to get its products made cheaper will almost always be a factor when it comes to job losses or even job gains in the United States. This includes using robots and fully automated systems. However, there is a silver lining to all of this and it involves an under-reported fact, advanced manufacturing in the United States is thriving.
What is Advanced Manufacturing In The United States?
Today’s highly trained and skilled workforce is what is driving our economy and it will continue to flourish and grow as long as demand for the goods is plentiful. While the number of manufacturing jobs that have been lost is a huge number, many of the remaining jobs are much higher paying positions.
While many American manufacturing jobs were lost to automation when businesses realized that they could produce more product using robots than they could with human employees they made the switch. However, in today’s advanced manufacturing environment, there is still a need for non-automated workers. These people are needed to run highly specialized equipment that cannot be automated and requires a highly skilled person to run them.
Manufacturing facilities have changed
You may be surprised to find out that today’s factory or manufacturing facility is not what you thought it was from the outside. Gone are the days of big, cavernous structures with huge smokestacks dotting the countryside. They have been replaced with much smaller, more modern buildings that can be built in the least obvious places.
However, when you go inside, you see the secret to their success is a much different approach to manufacturing that has replaced the old, outdated methods of yesteryear. Today, the machine operators are highly skilled men and women and many have degrees in engineering and other related skills to be able to run the sophisticated equipment.
So, before you go and write an obituary for what you think is a dead industry, you really should get to know more about the subject and dig a little deeper than what is being reported in the media. Manufacturing in the United States is far from dead but it might look a little different. However, I am pretty sure if you were to ask the people who are working in these modern-era factories and manufacturing facilities they would tell you that they much prefer things the way they are now.
To ensure we continue to develop manufacturing in the United States, these two things need to occur. We need to help our young people leaving school with the education and training necessary to excel in this new manufacturing environment. And we, as consumers, have to consider buying products made in the USA to reward the manufacturing companies already here and to encourage new ones to start up so more Americans can start to live the American dream.
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