Jeff Jacoby puts to rest the notion that American manufacturing is on the decline. It's not.
“The decline, demise, and death of America’s manufacturing sector has been greatly exaggerated,’’ says economist Mark Perry, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. “America still makes a ton of stuff, and we make more of it now than ever before in history.’’ In fact, Americans manufactured more goods in 2009 than the Japanese, Germans, British, and Italians — combined.
American manufacturing output hits a new high almost every year. US industries are powerhouses of production: Measured in constant dollars, America’s manufacturing output today is more than double what it was in the early 1970s.
So why do so many Americans fear that the Chinese are eating our lunch?
Part of the reason is that fewer Americans work in factories. Millions of industrial jobs have vanished in recent decades, and there is no denying the hardship and stress that has meant for many families. But factory employment has declined because factory productivity has so dramatically skyrocketed: Revolutions in technology enable an American worker today to produce far more than his counterpart did a generation ago. Consequently, even as America’s manufacturing sector out-produces every other country on earth, millions of young Americans can aspire to become not factory hands or assembly workers, but doctors and lawyers, architects and engineers.
That last sentence makes an interesting point. Young Americans can and should aspire to careers in something other than assembly line work. Progressives are quick to blame outsourcing when U.S. jobs are scarce, but studies have found that for every job they send overseas there are nearly two jobs created stateside.
He found that when U.S. firms hired lower-cost labor at foreign subsidiaries overseas, their parent companies hired even more people in the U.S. to support expanded operations. Between 1991 and 2001, employment at foreign subsidiaries of U.S. multinationals rose by 2.8 million jobs; during that same period, employment at their parent firms in the U.S. rose by 5.5 million jobs. For every job "outsourced" to India and other foreign countries, nearly two new jobs were generated here in the U.S.
Those new U.S. jobs were higher-skilled and better-paying—filled by scientists, engineers, marketing professionals and others hired to meet the new demand created by their foreign subsidiaries.
Here is the big problem for progressive politicians and the interest groups that support them. Outsourcing sends union type jobs overseas, creating management and professional positions here in the states instead. Democrats' constituency tends to disappear. One way progressives can counter this is by promoting immigration, particularly illegal immigration, as a way to replenish it. Hence the calls for amnesty and a path to citizenship -- the quicker the better for the Democrat election chances.