85% of job loss in manufacturing due to automation; only 13% due to trade

yllus

Elite Member & Lifer
Aug 20, 2000
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Since talk about trade agreements that America is "losing" on still dominates the airwaves, I thought I'd bring this up as I've seen it floated around recently. Short of a Luddite-esque smashing of the machines - or maybe more of a USSR pointless job creation scheme - I'm not sure what the solution for the further automation of work is.

CATO @ Liberty - Have Trade Agreements Killed the Manufacturing Sector?

Yes, it’s true – fewer people work in manufacturing today than in the past. Peak U.S. manufacturing employment was 19.4 million workers in 1979, but has generally trended downward since then. Today only around 12 million people work for manufacturers, a decline of roughly one third over the past 35 years. Productivity has risen so much that many fewer workers now produce many more manufactured products.

A recent study by the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University found that trade has had some effect on manufacturing employment. Researchers estimate that approximately 13 percent of manufacturing job losses have been due to trade. But the dominant factor has been productivity growth, which accounted for 85 percent of the employment decline. (Robots and computers ate the jobs.) So imports bear a relatively small degree of responsibility for the reduction in manufacturing employment, but take a large share of the blame from politicians.

...

(A more detailed review of the economic effects of trade agreements can be found in this study by the U.S. International Trade Commission.)​
 
Feb 4, 2009
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This explains why only 13% of Walmart's products are from overseas while 85% are manufactured by American robots.

Thank you
We've all seen manufacturing jobs go overseas. I don't find it particularly relevant that new factories use automation more.
Its a good discussion but off the top of my head I can think of 3 people impacted by a factory moving and none replaced by a machine.
 

chucky2

Lifer
Dec 9, 1999
10,038
36
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I'm really not sure I buy this. Go walk through a Menard's, Home Depot, Lowe's, Toys R Us, hell, anything retail (and massive amounts of Commercial): So much is not made here that it's accurate enough to say None of it is made here.

Short of actual food, imagine waking up in your house with no foreign made materials or goods, walking to your vehicle with no foreign made materials (that wire assembly that counts as domestic parts content but the wire and connector were made overseas, it was merely assembled here is now gone), walking (cause you sure aren't driving a vehicle that doesn't run) to the nearest non-food store, and going into and it's essentially empty. You go to the next store, essentially empty. The next, the same. And so on. That's pretty crazy...
 
Feb 4, 2009
34,673
15,886
136
I'm really not sure I buy this. Go walk through a Menard's, Home Depot, Lowe's, Toys R Us, hell, anything retail (and massive amounts of Commercial): So much is not made here that it's accurate enough to say None of it is made here.

Short of actual food, imagine waking up in your house with no foreign made materials or goods, walking to your vehicle with no foreign made materials (that wire assembly that counts as foreign parts content but the wire and connector were made overseas, it was merely assembled here is no gone), walking (cause you sure are driving a vehicle that doesn't run) to the nearest non-food store, and going into and it's essentially empty. You go to the next store, essentially empty. The next, the same. And so on. That's pretty crazy...
You're walking without shoes or socks too. You may have a shirt or pants but its unlikely you'd have both.
 

IronWing

No Lifer
Jul 20, 2001
69,329
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I think it's a matter of some American manufacturing moving overseas but more importantly, little new American manufacturing starting up; American companies just start out with overseas manufacturing.
 

1prophet

Diamond Member
Aug 17, 2005
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Do these automated factories have suicide nets, just in case the robots want to end it all from working 24/7?
 
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Jhhnn

IN MEMORIAM
Nov 11, 1999
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Remember when they told us that automation & computers would give us more "leisure time"?

They forgot to tell us how working people who don't get to work are supposed to pay the bills & feed the kids...

This really is an astoundingly wealthy society. We just need to figure out better ways to share that, to make it work for everybody.

Don't look to the Job Creators. If they wanted it to be different, it would be. If we the people really want it to be different we'll need to use the power of govt to make it that way.
 
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Jhhnn

IN MEMORIAM
Nov 11, 1999
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I'm really not sure I buy this. Go walk through a Menard's, Home Depot, Lowe's, Toys R Us, hell, anything retail (and massive amounts of Commercial): So much is not made here that it's accurate enough to say None of it is made here.

Short of actual food, imagine waking up in your house with no foreign made materials or goods, walking to your vehicle with no foreign made materials (that wire assembly that counts as domestic parts content but the wire and connector were made overseas, it was merely assembled here is now gone), walking (cause you sure aren't driving a vehicle that doesn't run) to the nearest non-food store, and going into and it's essentially empty. You go to the next store, essentially empty. The next, the same. And so on. That's pretty crazy...

Explain this-

manufacturing-for-web-PNG26.png


http://mercatus.org/publication/us-manufacturing-output-vs-jobs-1975
 

1prophet

Diamond Member
Aug 17, 2005
5,313
534
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Easier to complain about trade vs keeping your skills up to date and changing with the times.


Why bother updated your skills, why not just lower the wages, labor laws, environmental laws, get rid of OSHA, now you can compete with everyone and your corporate bosses will be really happy saving on all those shipping costs, hell they might let you throw an extra coal or too on the fire in a show of gratitude.
 

Bitek

Lifer
Aug 2, 2001
10,650
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Thank you
We've all seen manufacturing jobs go overseas. I don't find it particularly relevant that new factories use automation more.
Its a good discussion but off the top of my head I can think of 3 people impacted by a factory moving and none replaced by a machine.

Maybe you just never see the jobs before they are automated.

Actual case IRL. I am buying and installing several production lines for a new product from an acquisition. My first line is semi automated. In the meantime we're designing bigger, more high throughput machines, meanwhile keeping the headcount the same.

Next line will be 3x the speed with same crew. An even bigger line is eventually coming that will be 6x with the same crew.

I am buying these very expensive investments as they drive the unit costs way down. My raw materials are relatively cheap, but labor time, facility time and lead time are my main cost drivers.

In the end, I will get 10x the output with only 3x the labor from the original line. You will never see a job lost, other than on paper if you extrapolated the base production and assumed no labor efficiency increases.

If I don't automate and drive overall costs down, we don't have a market viable product. Slow, manual processes are too expensive.
 
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glenn1

Lifer
Sep 6, 2000
25,383
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I'm really not sure I buy this. Go walk through a Menard's, Home Depot, Lowe's, Toys R Us, hell, anything retail (and massive amounts of Commercial): So much is not made here that it's accurate enough to say None of it is made here.

Short of actual food, imagine waking up in your house with no foreign made materials or goods, walking to your vehicle with no foreign made materials (that wire assembly that counts as domestic parts content but the wire and connector were made overseas, it was merely assembled here is now gone), walking (cause you sure aren't driving a vehicle that doesn't run) to the nearest non-food store, and going into and it's essentially empty. You go to the next store, essentially empty. The next, the same. And so on. That's pretty crazy...

Cheap consumer products are made overseas because they're low value add. Expensive and technologically advanced capital goods are made in the U.S. because they're high value add. I'd much rather have 12MM manufacturing jobs making stuff like aircraft and construction equipment than 22MM manufacturing jobs making textiles and cheap plastic kitchen gadgets.
 
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Ns1

No Lifer
Jun 17, 2001
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In the end, I will get 10x the output with only 3x the labor from the original line. You will never see a job lost, other than on paper if you extrapolated the base production and assumed no labor efficiency increases.

Why do you hate America so much? Hire some people for gods sake.






/sarcasm
 

master_shake_

Diamond Member
May 22, 2012
6,430
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only 13 percent due to trade?

mutherfuckers.

well strike up the fucking band and usher in in the TPP!

turn that 13 in to 85!
 

Fenixgoon

Lifer
Jun 30, 2003
31,744
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all that means is that the value of goods produced in the US is higher. we don't make plastic children's toys - we make 787 dreamliners. but for some people, those plastic toy manufacturing jobs were a good source of income, even if it were a low one.

so the distribution of jobs/wages has probably changed quite a bit - the number at the top end has grown, but the number at the bottom end has been effectively truncated significantly.
 
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Jhhnn

IN MEMORIAM
Nov 11, 1999
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Cheap consumer products are made overseas because they're low value add. Expensive and technologically advanced capital goods are made in the U.S. because they're high value add. I'd much rather have 12MM manufacturing jobs making stuff like aircraft and construction equipment than 22MM manufacturing jobs making textiles and cheap plastic kitchen gadgets.

There remains the small matter of 10M people who need to work for a living to participate in the economy. We need to think up new jobs & new opportunities, change the whole way we look at the rewards of employment & the rewards of citizenship to fit into the real employment picture, not the picture as we want it to be.
 

Ns1

No Lifer
Jun 17, 2001
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There remains the small matter of 10M people who need to work for a living to participate in the economy. We need to think up new jobs & new opportunities, change the whole way we look at the rewards of employment & the rewards of citizenship to fit into the real employment picture, not the picture as we want it to be.

I hear Uber is hiring.
 
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Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
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What's so great about manufacturing jobs? Stand in a factory all day doing something a robot can do.

They paid enough for a man to single handedly support a family and live comfortably.
Now both spouses work, struggle, and still don't make it.
People like being paid to live like kings, not to eat dirt like slaves.

Granted, it's the value of labor that has declined and those wages are never coming back.
So the real question is, are the robots going to pay us not to work?
 
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agent00f

Lifer
Jun 9, 2016
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They paid enough for a man to single handedly support a family and live comfortably.
Now both spouses work, struggle, and still don't make it.
People like being paid to live like kings, not to eat dirt like slaves.

Granted, it's the value of labor that has declined and those wages are never coming back.
So the real question is, are the robots going to pay us not to work?

There's always McWalmart jobs. It never fails to be terribly amusing when people reap what they sow, wannabe capitalists in this case.
 

Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
33,532
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There's always McWalmart jobs. It never fails to be terribly amusing when people reap what they sow, wannabe capitalists in this case.

Irony has it, both those locations will be among the first to automate.
 

agent00f

Lifer
Jun 9, 2016
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So the jingoists fighting the reds find out not only did their jobs get outsourced to the commies, but the new shittier ones they scrounge up get replaced by machines soon to be made in china, too. They just can't catch a break.