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View Full Version : What if jobs really DID come back to the US?


Sue VÍtements
31st Aug 2016, 19:02
True I suppose that a lot of manufacturing that was once done in the US is now done in China, but what would happen if those jobs were actually brought back into the US?

It's fair to assume that approximately the same number of people would be needed to build a specific product, but the American workers would hopefully be paid American wages, not Chinese wages. American (ie stronger and more expensive) Environmental regulations would apply, which would be a good thing ... unless of course you WANT the US environment to resemble the environment of China :yuk: So the end result would be more expensive products.

No more going to Wal*Mart or Target and buying a pair of shoes for $25 (https://www.walmart.com/ip/JARMEN-MENS-FARADAY-OXFORD-DRESS-SHOE/36069900) or a shirt for $14 (https://www.walmart.com/ip/George-Men-s-Short-Sleeve-Oxford-Shirt/16533875), We'd all have to pay American prices for American made goods.

Don't get me wrong I'd like to see manufacturing brought back to the US, it's just that I also think there's a darker and largely unacknowledged side to the discussion that we all benefit from.

cavortingcheetah
31st Aug 2016, 19:27
There'd be certain to be consequences for unemployment in China. That would no doubt lead to additional strain and strife at the French channel coastal regions. One can, after all, walk from Peking to Paris; Marco Polo proved that.
When I were a lad at university in the US, everything was made there, from underwear to record players. It would be worth a Chinese melted take away to see that pleasant state of affairs resumed and with no dependence upon Arab oil, the Adirondacks would be filled with the sound of moonshine and music.

vapilot2004
31st Aug 2016, 21:57
According the the US BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), the service sector will provide nearly 95% of job growth over the next decade, with health care, social services, tech, and construction leading the type tally.

From a report released at the and of 2015: Employment Projections - US BLS (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecopro.toc.htm)

BLS chart of occupations with the strongest job growth:Job Growth Chart - BLS (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecopro.t06.htm)

Fastest growing job markets - (notice wind turbine techs top the list) Fastest Growth Areas - BLS Jobs (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecopro.t05.htm)

Tankertrashnav
31st Aug 2016, 23:17
I run a small business selling military blazer badges, ties etc. I source all of my wire embroidered badges in Pakistan as they are of good quality and very reasonably priced. I'm in good company. For many years now the UK Ministry of Defence has also bought all its wire uniform badges from Pakistan - the next time you see Trooping the Colour, those splendid sleeve badges worn by guards RSMs are all made there.

I doubt if there is one firm left in the UK doing this sort of work, as even if you paid UK minimum wage, for what is, after all, skilled work, you just would not be able to compete on price.

Apart from very high end technologies, Western economies have to forget the good old days of manufacturing and think of different ways of making money.

tartare
31st Aug 2016, 23:59
I read an article recently (which I'll try and find to post) that offered a different view.
Increased automation, and the falling cost of automation will mean that labour cost differentials between China and Western nations will become less significant over time.
A cheap robot making something in Detroit costs the same as a cheap robot making something in Guangzhou. The thrust of the article was that China and other nations relying on labour cost differentials enjoy only a short term competitive advantage.
I think the much more profound issue that policy makers and economists around the world are struggling to grapple with is that the fundamental nature of employment is changing.
Here in Australia data has just been released that shows 87 per cent of job growth in the last quarter was due to new part time jobs being created.
The workforce is being casualised and McJobbed, while unemployment remains relatively high, and stubbornly so.
I wonder if the pattern is the same stateside - having trouble interpreting your BLS stats.
So even if manufacturing was repatriated en-masse to the US, it may not result in the jobs and economic growth bonanza that some expect?
EDITED to add it seems the split between new full time jobs and new part time jobs is roughly 50/50. (http://www.cnbc.com/2016/08/05/nonfarm-payrolls-july-2016.html)

G-CPTN
1st Sep 2016, 00:14
I read an article recently (which I'll try and find to post) that offered a different view.
Increased automation, and the falling cost of automation will mean that labour cost differentials between China and Western nations will become less significant over time.
A cheap robot making something in Detroit costs the same as a cheap robot making something in Guangzhou. The thrust of the article was that China and other nations relying on labour cost differentials enjoy only a short term competitive advantage.
I think the much more profound issue that policy makers and economists around the world are struggling to grapple with is that the fundamental nature of employment is changing.

I don't agree.
There is the amortisation of overheads to be taken into consideration.

Machinery costs money, and the buildings to house the operation has costs (rates and utility costs) as well as the cost to build the building.

I had dealings with a company in Taiwan. Operations that we (in the UK) were doing with machinery, they in Taiwan were doing with labour (the owner's extended family) which was cheap - and the building was a tenement 'slum' that wouldn't have been permitted in the UK.

Ancient Mariner
1st Sep 2016, 06:52
It goes in circles.
Think shipbuilding. Used to be Europe and the US. Too expensive.
Then Japan. Too Expensive.
Then Korea. Becoming too expensive.
Over to China. Where to next?
I know that I am using a broad brush, and that there are lots of exception, but you get my drift .
Per

tartare
1st Sep 2016, 08:05
Noted G-CPTN - but I guess the question I would ask is, will your Taiwanese always be doing that job with the owners family in a slum?
Living standards rise, town planning requirements tighten...

onetrack
1st Sep 2016, 08:14
Jobs will never return to the USA, because automation has killed them, and is still killing them.
Automotive manufacturing is leading this charge, and automotive manufacturing is what provided the largest proportion of jobs in previous decades.

The greatest source of jobs in the USA in future will be in the service industry, and in tourism - showing all the wealthy "nouveau riche" from 3rd world countries, around the USA, and showing them "how it all used to be done", in that strange old era when virtually everyone had a job, and virtually everyone had to work. :(

Dea Certe
1st Sep 2016, 08:54
If your interested, you might give this book a read I enjoyed it back when...


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_End_of_Work

ExXB
1st Sep 2016, 09:03
Burger flippers, in other words. Where the multi-million dollar earning senior managers don't pay workers a living wage - and depend on government to top up with food stamps etc.

charliegolf
1st Sep 2016, 14:02
Burger flippers, in other words. Where the multi-million dollar earning senior managers don't pay workers a living wage - and depend on government to top up with food stamps etc.

My daughter works for one of those companies like Serco, Cap Gemini and others, who take over bits of councils, do stuff for the cops and even public inquries. Is that a service industry? She earns £100k!

CG

tdracer
1st Sep 2016, 17:01
Jobs will never return to the USA, because automation has killed them, and is still killing them.
Automotive manufacturing is leading this charge, and automotive manufacturing is what provided the largest proportion of jobs in previous decades.
This is largely true. The percentage share of US GDP from manufacturing hasn't changed much over the years - but the percentage share of employment from manufacturing has plummeted due to ever increasing automation.
There is a show on the Science Channel called "How It's Made" that I occasionally watch. Some of the stuff they show is rather labor intensive, but the lack of human involvement in some of the mass produced stuff they show is amazing.

Cazalet33
1st Sep 2016, 19:17
Would he let Americans try to make iPhones and iPads and Apple computers?

Would he be allowed to import competent workers from China to teach the burger-flippers and nail-painters of America how to actually make things?

Would he want to?

Krystal n chips
2nd Sep 2016, 06:57
The US construction sector may well be holding its breath of course.....albeit you wouldn't really wish to invest in the project.

Effluent Man
2nd Sep 2016, 08:22
Building a new house has been an eye opener on wage costs. The chap I sub contracted to pays a bricklayer £150 a day and a labourer £100. They get an incredible amount done in a day, kept supplied with coffee and Magnums. ( the ice cream, not the gun, that would slow things down a lot) The wage bill for a 3 bed detached house is just £27 k for the build. Then there are electricians,plumbers and carpenters to follow but current estimates are around £50k labour and £50k materials.

A house like that sells for £300k so it's not hard to see how the developers get rich.

G-CPTN
2nd Sep 2016, 08:41
Building a new house has been an eye opener on wage costs. The chap I sub contracted to pays a bricklayer £150 a day and a labourer £100. They get an incredible amount done in a day, kept supplied with coffee and Magnums. ( the ice cream, not the gun, that would slow things down a lot) The wage bill for a 3 bed detached house is just £27 k for the build. Then there are electricians,plumbers and carpenters to follow but current estimates are around £50k labour and £50k materials.

A house like that sells for £300k so it's not hard to see how the developers get rich.
But you have to add in the cost of the land and getting planning permission (and the Section 106 agreement on-costs) not to mention the utility connections.

NutLoose
2nd Sep 2016, 12:56
The one part of it all that worries me is foreign ownership, take Hinkley Point, no way should the likes of China have anything to do in the construction and operating of what I would call a Nationally important basic infrastructure, in my eyes ownership of all of the UK's power generation and distribution, water and energy supplies, such as gas, should be under the control of UK companies or the UK PLC and not any foreign power.. Australia have seen the light and have blocked the possible takeover of Auzgrid, perhaps we should too.

Australia risks Chinese anger over power grid sale - BBC News (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37044762)

Sue VÍtements
2nd Sep 2016, 17:02
The wage bill for a 3 bed detached house is just £27 k for the build. Then there are electricians,plumbers and carpenters to follow but current estimates are around £50k labour and £50k materials.

Interesting numbers and they add something to a very complex discussion, namely jobs done in the US by people who are not legally entitled to be here. Similar to jobs leaving America because those jobs are part of the American economy, but not performed by Americans.

Given that at least some construction jobs fall into this category the same question applies - if ALL construction jobs were done by Americans, what would that do to the price of a house?

And if construction wages should be higher, does that mean the illegal workers are in fact being exploited? To the benefit of some Americans (as well obviously as the to the detriment of others)?

tdracer
2nd Sep 2016, 19:37
A house like that sells for £300k so it's not hard to see how the developers get rich.
No idea what it's like in your area, but the 1/4 acre my house sits on is worth significantly more than the house - approximately 40/60 house to land. As a result, most of the new builds around here are on postage stamp lots - barely larger than the footprint of the house.

MG23
2nd Sep 2016, 19:57
Given that at least some construction jobs fall into this category the same question applies - if ALL construction jobs were done by Americans, what would that do to the price of a house?I was in some Eastern European country a few years ago, and the locals told us that, when they get married and want a house, they buy some booze and food and materials, and the neighbours come round and help them build a bungalow. When they have kids, they buy some more, and the neighbours come round and they build a second storey on the house. When their parents get too old to live alone, they buy some more, and the neighbours come around and they build a third storey.

Get the dead hand of the State out of the way, and houses don't have to cost a lot of money.

MG23
2nd Sep 2016, 20:04
The greatest source of jobs in the USA in future will be in the service industry, and in tourism - showing all the wealthy "nouveau riche" from 3rd world countries, around the USA, and showing them "how it all used to be done", in that strange old era when virtually everyone had a job, and virtually everyone had to workVR will kill tourism over the next few decades, even if the rapidly-rising walls along national borders don't. Though there'll still be some jobs keeping the VR drones working so tourists can rent them.

Simple reality is that the job economy is coming to an end. Few of our descendants will have anything that resembles a 'job', just as few of our ancestors did.

But, given they'll be able to make just about anything they need on a 3D printer so long as they can get the raw materials, they won't much care.