If you listen to protectionists, you may assume that our economy’s production jobs are either being taken by immigrants or shipped overseas to keep costs down.
According to productivity data, that does not seem to be the case.
Manufacturing employment has fallen steadily, from 32% as a share of total US employment in 1950 to 10% in 2010, but our production output has actually increased. This means that despite the decline in employment, our production industries are pumping out more goods than ever.
The reason for this new phenomenon, in which production continues to rise while the number of jobs decreases and prices fall, is automation. And it’s something that the Trump administration’s “America First” policy can do little to overcome.
In industries like agriculture and mining, the story has been similar.
As robotic technology becomes more sophisticated and prevalent, it seems certain that this trend will continue.
To read more and examine some charts tracking the trend, click here: Long-Term Job Decline In U.S. Manufacturing