Jobless Manufacturing Renaissance

April 22, 2013

Steve Goldstein at WSJ  Marketwatch has been skeptical of the so called manufacturing renaissance for some time.

In March 2013 manufacturing lost 3000 jobs.

While the media runs with “the sun will come out tomorrow” story on the return of manufacturing from offshore, actual data indicates a loss of jobs in March 2013 and a growth rate for employment of ~0.6% year over year.

Here’s the graph.

Does this look like recovery to you?

Does this look like recovery to you?

As shop owners, we have open positions for people with skills- but sadly few qualified applicants.

Here is what The Economist has to say about the U.S. Job Problem:

“Americans working to produce traded goods and services earn, roughly, according to their productivity. If low-skill workers in America aren’t much more productive in manufacture of traded goods and services than low-skill workers in China, then they can’t earn much more than workers in China while being employed in manufacture of traded goods and services. They can earn a rich-world wage in production of non-traded goods and services, like sandwiches and haircuts, so long as there is sufficient local demand.

“In other words, the only way to get less-skilled Americans a good wage in a manufacturing industry is to significantly raise their skill and productivity level. If that can’t be accomplished, they can only hope to find good wages in non-traded industries. At least, that is, until wages of less-skilled workers across the developing world come much closer to converging with those in America.”- The Economist

PMPA members are doing all they can to encourage people to gain a skill so that they can claim one of the estimated 600,000 open jobs in advanced manufacturing.

We’ve even created a career database to help people find the training in their area.

We have posted a number of career insights regarding precision machining on our website.

If you would like to claim a rewarding, high satisfaction job in advanced manufacturing, take a look at our material.

P.S. Our goods are “traded goods,” in the parlance of The Economist-  and rank highly world wide. I know PMPA member shops that export to Customers around the world including China, (so much for low cost!) Germany, and Switzerland.

Fact sheet.


The REAL Unemployment Problem- Creating a Permanent Class of Government Dependents

May 15, 2012

The real unemployment problem- an increase of  17.9 million Americans no longer in the workforce since 2000; According to the U.S.Census 49% of Americans live in a home that receives direct monetary benefits from the U.S.Government.

Not the kind of “Change” I like to see.

Looking back at the recessions in the 1960’s, ’70’s, and ’80’s, we see a sharp recovery in employment. No such luck with the last recession.

I have a colleague who sends me crap fallacies like Paul Krugman’s latest unemployment “it isn’t structural” polemic. My colleague hates  government austerity, loves higher taxes, and loves deficit spending (uhh- he calls it necessary stimulus.)

Mr. Krugman sets up a straw man argument about the ratio of government employment to U.S. population remaining flat to show there is no structural problem. (Conveniently ignoring the fact that government employment growth is at it’s highest level since 1968)

Strawman argument from a Nobel prize winner. Isn’t that something?

That’s what happens- I guess- when you look at U-3 instead of U-6 Unemployment figures.

Let’s look at some less obscure points. How about the ratio of Americans not in the workforce  between 2000-2011 versus the increase in population over the same period?

Population increased over 30 million; folks not in the workforce increased to 17.9 million in the same period.


That is probably too weak a signal for an economist of Mr. Krugman’s pay grade to acknowledge.

Look at the chart above.

Here are some of the facts  behind that chart:

  1. There are 242 million working age Americans
  2. Only 142 million of them have jobs
  3. Those who aren’t working are depending on the government for their spending
  4. There seems to be no employment recovery. (That ‘jobless recovery’ thing.)

Bottom line, added to every other dependency and entitlement program, the unemployment that is “not structural’ according to Mr. Krugman actually brings the number of Americans dependent upon the federal government up to 91 million.

I think that folks would rather have a job.

Our shops have openings for skilled machinists. Our schools have programs to teach machining. Yet there are no applicants.

Dear Mr. Krugman, we do have a  ‘structural’ unemployment, problem, and it isn’t at all what you think.