I posted about automation and not outsourcing being the reason for manufacturing job losses earlier this year, but didn't provide any hard evidence. Well, thanks to the wonders of Google, here's what I learned in fifteen minutes this morning:

US "Manufacturing: Challenges and Recommendations," Council of Economic Advisers (2004)

* Manufacturing jobs represented 32 percent of all US jobs in the early 1940's (that's a lot of Rosie the Riveters!) and only 13 percent in 2000 . . .but during that time, manufacturing output increased 11-fold

* Because we've gained about 2 percent a year in non-farm productivity since 1950, each hour of work produces three times more real value

* Even China has lost manufacturing jobs - 15 million from 1995 to 2003

"US Manufacturing: Dying . . . or Still Going Strong," the US-China Business Council (2006)

* The US's share of global manufacturing output has risen every year since 1987, except for the 1990-1991 and 2001 recessions, and was 22.4 percent in 2005

* China's hefty gains from 1995 to 2005 (from 4.2 percent to 8.0 percent) came largely at the expense of Japan (down from 21.1 percent to 17.8 percent)

* The US is anticipated to lose 500,000 manufacturing jobs to China from 2001 to 2010 . . . but keep in mind that in any given month, 4 million jobs turn over

"Manufacturing Jobs Data: USA and China," Curious Cat (2006)

* From 1992 to 2003, manufacturing productivity growth was just about as much in the US (57 percent) as in China (about 60 percent)

* From 1995 to 2002, global manufacturing employment shrunk by somewhere between 10 and 20 percent; the US's decline was 11.4 percent, while China's was somewhere between 17 and 34 percent (from 1992 to 2003, the US's decline was 13.6 percent and China's was 18.0 percent)

* A direct quote from a paper by a Clemson University professor - "I conclude that, during the period 1990 to early-2005, US manufacturing productivity growth cost the US several times more manufacturing jobs than all other factors combined-—including global competition."

Of course, the big gainer in all of this is all of us humans, who can enjoy a vastly greater quality of life thanks to the efficiency of modern production processes. In other words, the machines "cheat," and all of us win.
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