Manufacturing jobs and globalization

How has globalization impacted the manufacturing job market in the U.S.?

5 minutes

Young smiling worker of modern industrial plant or factory in workwear and protective helmet standing in large workshop.

Globalization was thought to be the death-knell to the American manufacturing industry. Manufacturing plants, companies and – ultimately jobs – were exported to emerging and low-cost markets like India, China and other countries. For a while, it seemed that manufacturing jobs were gone forever.

However, manufacturing in the U.S. is not gone, it has just been transformed. While many low-skill manufacturing jobs have been exported overseas, high-skill (and high-paying) jobs remained. This is evidenced by the fact that major manufacturers like Honda built some of their most innovative and productive plants right here in the U.S., and they relied on U.S. manufacturing professionals to lead the way.

In addition, many companies are beginning to insource, or re-shore, their manufacturing efforts. That’s because the wage gap between American salaries and international salaries is diminishing by the day. In addition, American workers have been proven to be substantially more productive than their counterparts across the world, and leaner organizations looking to improve efficiencies need American workers to make it happen.

As a result, the manufacturing industry today supports an estimated 17.4 million jobs in the country, and the unemployment rate was 5.2 percent as of April 2014 – 1.1 percentage points lower than the average for all other industries.

There is a job for you.

Opportunities are out there, but require a higher level of knowledge and tangible skills than ever before. To compete in the global manufacturing job market, you need to be able to sell yourself as someone who understands the fast-changing dynamics of the industry, how to increase productivity, adapt to technology and solve problems creatively.

For more insights on today’s manufacturing sector, be sure to speak with your local Adecco representative.