Saving American Manufacturing: The Fight for Jobs, Opportunity, and National Security
Manufacturing is a vital sector of a modern economy and is crucial for national defense and security. Since 1990, however, the U.S. has lost one in every three manufacturing jobs. In 1990, U.S. employment in manufacturing was 17,695,000. By 2011, the number of Americans employed in manufacturing had dropped to 11,734,000 – – a stunning loss of roughly 6 million jobs, a 34% drop in manufacturing employment. The decline of the U.S. manufacturing industry has been severe and the impacts devastating to countless American families and communities. Many cities are filled with vacant and abandoned factories and are plagued with high unemployment. Because of the vast job losses, and concerns regarding economic viability and national security, manufacturing is now a major topic of discussion. Rebuilding American Manufacturing presents and reviews why manufacturing matters. The book discusses the important contributions made by manufacturing to a vibrant economy, including the payment of good wages, driving innovation, creating exports and positive contributions to trade balance, and supporting national defense and security. Moreover, the book presents arguments that the loss of manufacturing is not inevitable and is not primarily the result of productivity gains nor of high wages. Analysis of the establishment data including the number of employees shows that, over time, somewhat surprisingly, the vast majority of factory closings were the larger plants with the greatest number of employees. This was true for most industries – the largest factories and plants were the ones most likely to close. This fact has major implications for business strategy and government policy because many companies are now considering reshoring manufacturing from abroad back to the U.S. If successful, this trend will help lower the unemployment rate and strengthen the economy.