Changing Workforce

Even in manufacturing hot spots, Trump's jobs homecoming a long shot

By Reuters

Apr 14, 2016

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When U.S. manufacturing employment peaked, Jimmy Carter was president, inflation was 11 percent, and craftsmen at Frontier Contact Lenses made the company's products one at a time on diamond-tipped lathes.

Now, the fully automated factory allows four workers to produce in a 12-hour shift what more labor-intensive methods produced in a year.

Since peaking at 19.5 million in 1979, the number of U.S. manufacturing jobs has fallen 37 percent to around 12.2 million as of March, or just over 10% of the private sector workforce.

That may be as good as it gets. Despite the promises made on the campaign trail by Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and other candidates, the next president will find it hard to raise manufacturing's share of a U.S. labor force that keeps shifting toward services.

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