Backstory: American Manufacturing

Thursday, February 09, 2012

More goods are being produced in American factories that in recent decades, but employment in those same facilities is falling. Adam Davidson, co-founder and co-host of Planet Money, a co-production of NPR and This American Life, discusses the decline of American manufacturing jobs and looks at why the jobs crisis will be so difficult to solve. He's the author of "Making It in America," in the January/February issue of The Atlantic.


Adam Davidson

Comments [7]

tom LI

This interview and the comments point to one very important problem that exists in this and similar discussions. Definition of terms.

One obvious one - does depressed wages mean, reduced wages or leveled out?

Skilled jobs - there's low, high, medium, etc.. What exactly do we need and what exactly can the American populace fulfill in any particular region? And why and/or can the manufacturers move where they wish when they need to find the types of workers they need...?

Feb. 09 2012 05:54 PM

Unfortunately, it is not just 'cheap labour', it is also 'cheap oil' which is a highly subsidize commodity that allows companies to export manufacturing. Transport costs are artificially low. Another case for getting away from fossil fuels...

Feb. 09 2012 02:01 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I meant how the high-end factories compare w/the low-end ones in China, not btwn. China & the US.

Feb. 09 2012 01:53 PM
sara from brooklyn

what about the "prison slaves" in China? Prisoners (and we're not talking criminal prisoners b/c they just take anyone prisoner at random) are forced into labor, in poor conditions, to make products used by the west (like slippers). They are beaten or killed if they don't work/produce.

Feb. 09 2012 01:52 PM
Mihail from queens

Why do workers want to save these jobs? Is it out of desperation or is someone actually really passionate about manufacturing?

Feb. 09 2012 01:48 PM
Amy from Manhattan

But are the workers *treated* any better, in terms of safety & other working conditions, in the high-end factories in China? And are those factories any better environmentally?

Feb. 09 2012 01:40 PM
antonio from bayside

The economist Richard Wolff says the surge in us manufacturing has been due to the depressed wages are more attractive then overseas...Is this true?

Feb. 09 2012 01:37 PM

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