What’s in store for manufacturing in 2012? Quite a bit! It looks like we can expect even more manufacturing jobs to return the United States as Chinese wages keep rising and the cost of shipping materials to and from China gets more expensive.
In the article “Get Ready for Manufacturing’s Big Comeback,” it notes that 85 percent of the 3,000 manufacturing executives surveyed “expected at least some kinds of factory work to return to the U.S. from overseas.” However, many of the jobs that come back to this country will probably be much different than ones traditionally associated with manufacturing.
We could see a completely new manufacturing job market in just a few years. Over the past few decades, manufacturers have laid off a large number of workers and replaced them with automated machines, which are much more cost-efficient. This may have seemed like a negative thing at the time, but what it was really doing was making manufacturers more profitable and forcing them to hire more college-educated engineers to oversee their increasingly complex operations.
As manufacturing turns into a more educated profession, it will likely attract even more innovators and people with the skills to put radical ideas into practice. Instead of worrying about the number of jobs in their industry, manufacturers should focus their attention on the types of jobs available to them. By gaining high-tech skills, they’ll have a better chance of making it in the new manufacturing industry.
A retweet by @KnightGlobal inspired this blog post. I haven’t given enough credit to the tweeters who have inspired my posts in the past. I’ll do a better job of recognizing them from now on. That’s one of my New Year’s resolutions.