Where Manufacturing Is Thriving In The U.S.

Where Manufacturing Is Thriving In The U.S.

Jun 19, 2017

By Joel Kotkin and Mike Shires, Forbes Throughout the dismal presidential campaign, the plight of America’s manufacturing sector played a central role. Yet despite all the concerns raised about factory jobs leaving the country, all but 18 of the country’s 70 largest metropolitan regions have seen an uptick in industrial employment since 2011. And despite the slowdown in car sales, the job count continues to expand, albeit more slowly. Although the share of industrial jobs has shrunken from 10.5% of all nonfarm employment in 2005 to 8.5% today, manufacturing continues to have an outsized influence on regional economies, as is spelled out in the latest paper from the Center for Opportunity Urbanism. This stems in large part from the industrial sector’s productivity gains since 2001 — almost twice as much as the economy-wide average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — and it has a far higher multiplier effect (the boost it provides to local job and wealth creation) than virtually any other sector. Manufacturing generates $1.40 in economic activity for every dollar put in, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, far greater than the multiplier generated by business services, information, retail trade or finance. To determine the places where manufacturing growth is the strongest, we looked at employment in the sector over time, assessing short-, medium- and long-term trends going back to 2005 and adding in variables for persistence and momentum as well. The results of these trends, based on three-month averages, are normalized and each MSA is assigned a score based on its relative position in each area.  The rankings this year produced some surprising results, as well as some familiar stories. Red States And The Rust Belt Win  Nine of this year’s top 10 regions for manufacturing job growth are in red states, led by top-ranked Louisville-Jefferson County, which straddles the border between Kentucky and Indiana. Since 2011, manufacturing employment in the metropolitan area has expanded 30.2% to a total of 83,300 jobs, led by a resurgent auto industry that accounts for 27,000 jobs in the area. Due to a slowdown in auto sales, the job count may be peaking, but the hub of the Bluegrass State has...

Manufacturing A Future For The Next Generation Workforce

Manufacturing A Future For The Next Generation Workforce

Jun 5, 2017

By Kylene Zenk, Manufacturing Business Technology Today, the U.S. manufacturing industry faces many challenges, yet perhaps the most significant is the current — and growing — skills gap with six out of ten production positions going unfilled due to a talent shortage. Closing the gap is a priority, but it’s challenging given the magnitude of the problem — according to research from Deloitte, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled in the next decade, and two million of those jobs are likely to go unfilled. What is causing this gap? The primary factor is the significant increase in baby boomer retirements, as an estimated 2.7 million jobs will open as boomers continue to exit the workplace. Economic expansion will also play a role as 700,000 jobs will be created due to natural business growth. Perception and Education Compound the Challenge As the manufacturing industry loses its experienced knowledgebase to retirement, one would expect the next generation to be prepared to step in — but unfortunately, for many companies, that isn’t the case. Manufacturing can present a great opportunity for younger generations — millennials and Gen Z especially — as open positions are more technical, specialized, and demanding. However, finding qualified talent is increasingly difficult and the lack of it currently in place is creating situations where the talent isn’t there to step in for retirees. Many candidates don’t have the required STEM skills (science, technology, engineering, and math), which may be attributed to the decline in the amount of technical education programs offered at high schools today. Perhaps the biggest obstacle in overcoming the skills gap, however, is the fact that many people have misconceptions or preconceived notions about what it’s like to work in manufacturing today. They picture an archaic industrial plant, complete with old-fashioned equipment or lines of manual laborers, and assume a manufacturing career isn’t right for them. If so, they’re not alone. According to a recent survey commissioned by Kronos Incorporated and conducted online by Harris Poll, more than 50 million Americans have limited to no knowledge about the modern manufacturing industry, and only 37 percent of respondents said they would encourage their children to pursue a career in manufacturing. As...

U.S. Reshored Jobs Rising — But What Will 2017 Bring?

U.S. Reshored Jobs Rising — But What Will 2017 Bring?

Jun 2, 2017

By Taras Berezowsky, Metal Miner Looks like the tide has finally turned. Extending that metaphor is easier now than it’s ever been for us writing on this topic: the reshoring of American manufacturing from abroad — and specifically, the net gains in jobs that we’ve been seeing in 2016 and early 2017 as compared with the trends in the early 2000s. (I envision the emigrating jobs huddled together for warmth on a seaworthy vessel, with Shanghai getting smaller in the distance as the Pacific waves toss the boat ever closer toward Long Beach… if only it were that poetic.) Back to reality. The Reshoring Initiative has just released its 2016 Data Report, and the numbers seem to tell a rosy story. According to the report press release, “in comparison to 2000-2003, when the United States lost, net, about 220,000 manufacturing jobs per year to offshoring, 2016 achieved a net gain of 27,000.” “The numbers demonstrate that reshoring and FDI are important contributing factors to the country’s rebounding manufacturing sector,” the release concluded. But of course, it’s not that easy. Major policy changes will have to be made or improved to continue the reshoring trend (which is still in its early stages), according to Harry Moser, founder of the Reshoring Initiative. In a way, the U.S. should aspire to host conditions like those in Germany, Moser told me, including a supportive government, VAT, low healthcare costs, and an appreciation of the benefit of local sourcing. “Germany has a huge trade surplus and manufacturing at about 20% of employment,” Moser said, “and [the U.S. has] a huge trade deficit and manufacturing at about 10%.” RELATED: We chatted with Moser in a video interview a few years ago when the latest results within the trend were gaining steam (below). The Good News for U.S. Metals Jobs According to the full report, in 2016, fabricated metals had a good showing with the fourth-most reshored jobs by industry category. Also, primary metals moved ahead of non-metallic minerals: Good to see that toys and hobbies industry jobs are coming back… but not nearly as quickly. The “Good/Bad/Who Knows” News for U.S. Metals Jobs One aspect of our new economy that’s...

Robots & Us: The Future of Work in the Age of AI

Robots & Us: The Future of Work in the Age of AI

May 30, 2017

By Wired Robot co-workers and artificial intelligence assistants are becoming more common in the workplace. Could they edge human employees out? What then? Check out video: https://www.wired.com/video/2017/05/robots-us-the-future-of-work-in-the-age-of-ai/ ...

Four ways to build 21st century infrastructure

Four ways to build 21st century infrastructure

May 22, 2017

By Judy Marks, CEO, Siemens USA American infrastructure might have received its second-straight D+ from the American Society of Civil Engineers, but at least we’re getting closer to significant momentum and action. With President Trump, members of Congress, and three out of four citizens endorsing new infrastructure investment, now it’s a question of when, not if, the country will launch a new era of transformational projects. Part of the solution will be finding a way to pay for these projects. This Infrastructure Week, we have a responsibility to also focus on the overall approach. How should we prioritize investments? How will 21st century infrastructure differentiate itself from the great, yet aging, systems built during the 20th? How we will continue raising the bar for our infrastructure’s safety, effectiveness and sustainability in a country that will shortly reorganize itself into 11 growing mega-regions, add 70 million more people and move 40 percent more freight? Four principles should guide our overall approach. American infrastructure needs extend beyond aging roads and bridges. Our energy grid has assets that were installed more than a century ago. It’s old, and it’s still largely pre-digital. This is why the grid both struggles to incorporate renewable fuels as they become cost competitive to fossil resources and still remains vulnerable to severe weather. In U.S. manufacturing the average age of factory equipment is older than at any time since the Great Depression. Meanwhile, aging buildings and water systems continue to over-consume energy. We need to build infrastructure that is not only newer, but that is smarter. The digital transformation of infrastructure presents a tremendous opportunity to improve each system’s overall performance. Operators of digital infrastructure get alerted when a system is failing, not when it has failed. They can make decisions – from allocating power supplies to managing rush-hour traffic – that are based on real-time demand rather than perceived. These aren’t just concepts of innovations. They are here, and they are working today. In California, a Native American reservation is using software to manage a microgrid that keeps power flowing when they’re affected by landslides. It’s also predicted to save the reservation $200,000 per year in energy costs and 150 tons of CO2...