March 12, 2004

Manufacturing Jobs

If I understand things correctly, the number of manufacturing jobs that exist worldwide is shrinking. Automation is killing them off faster than increased consumption produces them. If that's the case, I would expect that if you have x% of the manufacturing in your country, all things being equal, you'd lose x% of the worldwide manufacturing job loss. The political policies that a country adopts in a shrinking job environment would need to be adjusted to the reality of worldwide manufacturing job loss so if you would expect that 20k jobs would be lost in a given year but you lost 5k then that's a pretty good year for those 15k that didn't lose their jobs even though they normally would have. This is similar in principle to the seasonal adjustments in unemployment that are done to take into account that certain parts of the year have unusal numbers of hirings and firings.

So why isn't anybody doing this sort of adjustment? Even if you can't quickly get reliable worldwide figures, you'd think that they'd compile the numbers as they come in to get some sort of measuring stick to keep expectations properly aligned with reality. The truth is, it would be a public service. People, by continually hearing about the secular reductions in worldwide manufacturing jobs, would no longer be tempted by xenophobic rants. They would also make better career choices and fewer of them would be caught in the nasty position of losing a job in a declining industry where there is always a surplus of qualified labor in the field.

It's a mystery

Posted by TMLutas at March 12, 2004 08:50 PM