It’s not that American manufacturing isn’t doing well. Companies are moving operations back to the U.S. The South is becoming one of the cheapest places to build things in the world. Factories are humming along at their fastest pace in years. Since the spring of 2010, the U.S. has added 600,000 new manufacturing jobs. That’s great and all, until you consider the 1.9 million manufacturing jobs lost during the recession.
From a jobs standpoint, it’s obvious that all that new growth and output is being driven by investments in capital, not labor. So: robots. Unfortunately, robots don’t get factored into the jobs number. If they did, a lot of machines would have earned a lot of jobs in the past few years. It’s not so much that factories are doing more with fewer resources—they’re doing more with fewer people.
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