How the manufacturing industry is changing post-recession

The remaining manufacturing projects involve more of a reliance on computers and sophisticated machinery, rather than manpower.

More and more Americans mistakenly believe that nothing is officially “Made in the USA” anymore. Though they are right that a lot of things did move to offshore manufacturing, there are still some items the U.S. is keeping for itself. The recession was hard on the manufacturing industry, and about 2 million workers lost their jobs. That alone created a huge portion of the unemployed public that had to struggle to get by. Part of the problem with manufacturing jobs is that most likely many of those positions will never return, and that leaves an entire group of workers who may never find equitable work to financially sustain themselves. It may take a considerable amount of effort and searching for them to regroup and reenter the market with a completely different set of skills.

Are things made in the U.S.?

The answer to whether things are still made in the United States is yes. Although toys, clothes and many electronic items are brought in from overseas due to the lower costs, there are still things that start and end in this country. American factories are making things—Ford trucks, airplanes, appliances, computer chip components and fertilizers are all examples of things U.S. companies are creating. Experts note that there has been a notable decline in manufacturing jobs, but not a decline in manufacturing. In fact, many companies are churning out just as much in product as they did pre-recession, but in different ways.

Some of the manufacturing projects that have remained in the system involve more of a reliance on computers and sophisticated machinery, rather than manpower. Many low-cost items like toothpaste and cleansers are manufactured with intricate machinery systems and require only a few humans to monitor consistent flow. Despite the huge loss of jobs in 2008 and 2009, overall the manufacturing sector’s output rose from 1987 to 2007, as reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

How things are changing in the job force

With the decline in manufacturing jobs, the market is making a shift. The service sector is the fastest growing market in the U.S. Jobs like financial planners, pay day lenders, real estate agents, lawyers and health care providers are all booming. The job markets for these positions are stable and in demand. That demand is projected to continue to rise in coming years. With baby boomers aging, they are going to need service-oriented workers to help them with decisions, care, and planning.

Where does manufacturing fit in now?

Though service jobs are on the rise and taking over in terms of immediate openings, it doesn’t mean that manufacturing jobs are out of the picture. The market is merely shifting. Manufacturing is still a huge part of the US economy. It is the best industries for people without a college degree to enter. Not only are wages good, but benefits can serve a breadwinner well. In addition, jobs in the manufacturing sector cater to people who like the old school method of working their way up in a company. No one is going to start as a nurse and work their way up to Chief of Staff. However, a worker on an assembly line can aspire realistically to work their way up to manager.

Where manufacturing is going in the future

Manufacturing is not dead in the U.S. Experts are cautioning that the country may be too reliant on overseas industrialization when it comes to high-end products. The repercussion is that the U.S. may be forgoing its research and development by outsourcing technical manufacturing to other countries. In particular with the world “going green,” the U.S. has to remain competitive and on its feet when it comes to bringing new advancements into the market. Time will tell what happens with the manufacturing world, but it is far from gone. The US will shift and change but most likely will start to bring high-end companies into the mix. That’s great news for the millions of workers who lost their jobs during the recession.

Other recent posts by bryanh