According to the New York Post, while it is easy to blame foreign countries with cheap labour for the decline of factory jobs in the United States, the reality is that automation has allowed manufacturing to double its production with a fraction of the work force it once needed. With robots taking more and more roles, even Elon Musk is arguing in favour of a basic income to ensure our survivability.
[...] research shows that the automation of U.S. factories is a much bigger factor than foreign trade in the loss of factory jobs. A study at Ball State University’s Center for Business and Economic Research last year found that trade accounted for just 13 percent of America’s lost factory jobs. The vast majority of the lost jobs – 88 percent – were taken by robots and other homegrown factors that reduce factories’ need for human labor.
“We’re making more with fewer people,” says Howard Shatz, a senior economist at the Rand Corp. think tank.
General Motors, for instance, now employs barely a third of the 600,000 workers it had in the 1970s. Yet it churns out more cars and trucks than ever.
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