I’ve been doing some additional research on the theme I started on Myths of Manufacturing that drew several comments.

The next blog on bringing the middle class back was meant to be a companion piece.

Harry Moser from Reshoring argued that the real culprit of lost manufacturing jobs was the offshoring craze. He referenced ITIF as a source without providing a link. I had forgotten about that organization. It is the The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation. I had found it while researching a similar topic 10 or 11 years ago. It bills itself as a think tank. As you know, most think tanks, much like some organizations in our space, publish research that just happens to support its point of view. The hot button I was researching back then was whether we needed more green cards issued to programmers as business leaders wanted, or whether we had plenty of programmers but we just didn’t call them that.

Federal Reserve Economist

Some ideas I had developed over years. But others were highlighted by a talk I attended by William Strauss, Senior Economist and Economic Advisor, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Take a look at these slides.

Manufacturing employment as a share of national employment has been declining for over 60 years

The number of jobs in manufacturing has been relatively stable over this period, edging lower on average by -0.3% per year since 1947.

While manufacturing employment growth has been edging lower over the past 63 years, manufacturing output increased by 3.1% per year.

The increase in output can be attributed to strong productivity growth experienced by the manufacturing sector.

The divergence in productivity appears to have occurred around the mid-1970s. By the way, do you know what happened in the mid-1970s? That’s when we first started automating manufacturing!

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