From Forbes, a Special Section: Made In America

By May 29, 2009Economy

The Forbes column by NAM President John Engler excerpted below is part of a major special section developed by Forbes on manufacturing in the United States, “Made in America.” Quite a project, and many points of view are included. Congratulations and thanks to Forbes and the report’s editor, Steve Kichen, for the editorial effort on a critical topic for our nation’s future.

The introduction to “Made In America“:

Made in America meant something very different 30 years ago. It will mean something very different 30 years from now. All we can do is make good guesses. The facts are that 12 million adults make something for a living in the U.S., and their output accounts for $1.6 trillion, one-fifth of world manufacturing, more than that of any other nation. Yet our unprecedented manufacturing muscle is, to many, and justifiably so, in a state of crisis. Those 12 million jobs were once 19.5 million jobs. Since its peak in 1979, factory employment has never stopped falling. The hard truth? It never will. Manufacturing is always in crisis. Productivity eliminates jobs here, in China, in Mexico and everywhere. Making goods will continue to play an important part in our economy, but it will employ a smaller workforce. The growth will be in the ideas that come with the hands: innovation, automation and customization. Hands have skill; people have passion.

There are graphics, videos, interviews, such a wealth of material. As said, there are many points of view expressed, including some the NAM would strenuously disagree with. But as a package that captures the public debate about manufacturing as well as the many, many high-quality, successful manufacters in the country — kudos.

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