Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Ground realities of manufacturing jobs

Lately there has been a lot of noise from the President and the Republican candidates regarding how we should encourage manufacturing jobs in the U.S. This new found enthusiasm comes as we are hearing about the increasing costs of labor in China and also the profitability of the car manufacturers. As I read in a newspaper today that it is the nostalgia of the bygone era when the manufacturing jobs were a path to middle income jobs. But it is not a case anymore, at the end of the World War II, America was the undisputed king of manufacturing and Europe was devastated by the War. We were supplying everything to our foes and allies alike and you don’t need any college education at that time. That time folks will not return since the world is not the same anymore.

We have competition in almost every sphere of manufacturing and we are not doing that much good there. Although we still have world class manufacturing and educational institutions but our high labor costs are too high and we have competition from India, China, Brazil and the rest of the world and on top of that we are burdened with a huge military budget which is more the anyone spends in the world. Even for mundane jobs, an employer requires at least some college education and in most cases a four year bachelor's degree. And since the college education has become more expensive and the student’s debt load has become unbearable in some cases, more and more students are going in fields where they want to earn more money so that they can pay down their student loans faster.

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