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Talking Manufacturing and Its Wage Premium | Jared Bernstein | On the Economy
–Manufacturing has the potential to grow beyond its current size and employ more people in decent jobs, but we’ve got to get the policy right. –As per Susan Houseman’s work (link), manufacturing productivity is significantly overstated for a number of reasons , implying that the agriculture analogy is incorrect. For one, it’s largely driven by one relatively small sub-sector: the production of computers and electronic products. –Second, Houseman points to two problems with the way we count inputs that also biases up estimates of manufacturing productivity. First, we’re undercounting the quantity of imported intermediate inputs and thus overcounting value added. Second, when manufacturers employ workers from outside the sector, say from Manpower-type staffing services, that biases down measured sectoral labor inputs and further biases up value added. –Even in the highly productive computer sector, productivity-induced job loss is not obvious. Houseman again: “Productivity growth also may reflect improvements to product design that result from research and development activities. ... The reason employment in electronic computer manufacturing has declined by 41 percent since 2000…is not because the assembly process has been automated but because most computer assembly has moved to Asia.” –Despite rumors to the contrary, manufacturing still pays better than other jobs for workers with similar characteristics.
US_economy  productivity  manufacturing  wages  off-shoring  technology  tech  R&D  unemployment  statistics  links  EF-add 
june 2014 by dunnettreader

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