Executive Briefings

The Good News Is Manufacturing Is Back. The Bad News Is Robots Have the Jobs.

The discussion of American manufacturing is often a muddled one, steeped in nostalgia for a bygone era and accompanied by a certain misty-eyed conviction that it is a sector in ceaseless decline. A new study from the McKinsey Global Institute adds some welcome clarity. In 184 pages, the global consulting giant presents a picture of manufacturing as among the most dynamic sectors of the U.S. and global economies, driving higher productivity and standards of living. But it also shows that what we usually think of as a traditional manufacturing job isn't coming back.

It is a story of robotics and other technologies improving at a remarkable rate, eliminating the need for factory floors crowded with workers doing manual labor. In the newest factories, one can look across an airplane hangar-sized floor and see only a small handful of technicians staring at computer screens, monitoring the work of the machines. Workers lifting and pushing and riveting are nowhere to be seen.

That means that the manufacturing jobs that do remain are very different from the old world, in which a man (it was almost always a man) without much education could show up at the door of a factory and have a multi-decade career at middle class wages assembling things.

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Keywords supply chain, supply chain management, supply chain jobs, U.S. manufacturing, jobs in manufacturing

It is a story of robotics and other technologies improving at a remarkable rate, eliminating the need for factory floors crowded with workers doing manual labor. In the newest factories, one can look across an airplane hangar-sized floor and see only a small handful of technicians staring at computer screens, monitoring the work of the machines. Workers lifting and pushing and riveting are nowhere to be seen.

That means that the manufacturing jobs that do remain are very different from the old world, in which a man (it was almost always a man) without much education could show up at the door of a factory and have a multi-decade career at middle class wages assembling things.

Read Full Article


Keywords supply chain, supply chain management, supply chain jobs, U.S. manufacturing, jobs in manufacturing