Technology and Manufacturing Productivity Improvements Have Destroyed 6 Million Jobs
Update: This BEA link shows that real manufacturing output (in billions of chained 2000 dollars) almost doubled in the 20 years between 1987 and 2007, from $866 billion in 1987 to $1,618 billion in 2007.
Update: Real output per worker (2007 dollars).
Because of the significant increase in manufacturing output accompanied by the huge decline in employment, the manufacturing output per worker increased more than four times, from $27,175 in 1979 to $115,750. The increase in worker productivity is one of the main contributing factors to the elimination of six million manufacturing jobs in the U.S. Simply put, we're producing more and more manufacturing output with fewer and fewer workers.
With that in mind, consider this re-write of a recent news story about China:
“There is no bigger step we can take to promote U.S. job creation, particularly in the manufacturing sector, than to confront
“We have a job crisis in upstate New York and in America,” Schumer said. “
Bottom Line: There's really no difference between: a) being able to produce more manufacturing output in the U.S. due to productivity increases that allow us to take advantage of technology advances and employ fewer workers, and b) being able to increase our manufacturing output in the U.S. by taking advantage of low-cost labor in China and employing fewer American workers.
The first example substitutes more efficient capital for labor, and the second substitutes low-cost labor for high-cost labor, but the net result is the same: more output with fewer workers. Imposing penalties on low-cost Chinese manufacturers because some U.S. jobs are eliminated makes as much sense as imposing penalties on American companies that introduce technology (e.g. robotics) and in the process eliminate some U.S. jobs.