Manufacturing employment has fallen below 12 million jobs for the first time since 1941, and manufacturing jobs as a percentage of total employment has fallen below 9%, the lowest level since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started collecting data in 1939. But annual manufacturing output per worker is also at a record high: $223,915 (in constant 2000 dollars). That's almost 3 times as much output per worker as in the early 1970s, and twice as much output per worker compared to the mid-1980s.
That has been the trend over the last 40 years: more output with fewer workers. That’s a good thing, or inevitable, or both – isn’t it? I used to think so; now I’m not so sure. read more »