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Manufacturing Facts that America Can’t Ignore

May 9, 2011


FACT: All great economic empires eventually become fat and lazy, and squander their great wealth that their forefathers have either created for them, or left them.

But, the pace at which America is accomplishing this is absolutely amazing. It was America that was at the forefront of the industrial revolution. It was America that showed the world how to mass produce everything from  automobiles to televisions to airplanes. It was American manufacturing base that crushed Germany and Japan in World War II. But now, we are witnessing the de-industrialization of America.

Thousands of factories have left the United States in the past decade. Millions of manufacturing jobs have been lost during the same time. The United States has become a nation that consumes everything in sight and yet produces increasingly little. The United States has become bloated and spoiled and our economy is now  just a shadow of what it once was. Once upon a time, America could literally out produce the rest of the world combined. Today, that is no longer true, but Americans sure do consume more than anyone else in the world. If the de-industrialization of America continues at this current pace, what possible kind of future are we going to be left behind?

Any great nation throughout history has been great at making things. So, if the United States continues to allow its manufacturing base to erode at a staggering pace how in the world can the U.S. continue to consider itself to be a great nation? We have created the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world in an effort to maintain a very high standard of living, but the current state of affairs is not anywhere close to sustainable. Every single month America goes into more debt, every single month America gets poorer, and every single year America gets more confused on what needs to be done.

Here are just a few of the examples of the negative trend for manufacturing:

  • Dell Inc., one of America’s largest manufacturers of computers, has announced plans to dramatically expand its operations in China with an investment of over $100 billion over the next decade.
  • Dell also has announced that it will be closing its last large U.S. manufacturing facility in Winston-Salem , and North Carolina. Approximately 900 jobs will be lost.
  • In 2008, 1.2 billion cell phones were sold worldwide. So how many of them were manufactured inside the United States ?  Zero.
  • The United States has lost a total of about 5.5 million manufacturing jobs since October 2000.
  • In 1959, manufacturing represented 28 % of U.S. economic output. In 2008, it represented 11.5 %.
  • Ford Motor Company recently announced the closure of a factory that produces the Ford Ranger in St. Paul , Minnesota. Approximately 750 good paying middle class jobs are going to be lost because making Ford Rangers in Minnesota does not fit in with Ford’s new “global” manufacturing strategy.
  • As of the end of 2009, less than 12 million Americans worked in manufacturing. The last time less than 12 million Americans were employed in manufacturing was in 1941.
  • The United States has lost a whopping 32 % of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.
  • Manufacturing employment in the U.S. computer industry is actually lower in 2010 than it was in 1975.
How many once great manufacturing cities are going to become rotting war zones, like Detroit, before we understand that we are committing national economic suicide?  I, for one, would like to see the outsourcing, in-sourcing, and near-sourcing stopped.  Granted, as a business owner, it’s all about keeping expenses down, and profits up.  But, as an American, eventually, I won’t have the money to buy your product or service.
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