Manufacturing sets a new high

Date posted: June 3, 2011

There are signs manufacturing is making a comeback.  Employment is up, and many factories are running at full capacity.  On top of this good news, says N.C. State University economist Mike Walden, U.S. manufacturing has set a new record.

“The amount of manufacturing output per worker is what a worker is responsible for in terms of producing. The value of manufacturing output set a new record high this year of a $150,000 dollars per worker.  It blew past the previous record that was set actually before the recession.

“And really this is a continuation of a long-term trend. Manufacturing output for worker … has doubled in the U.S.  since 1980, and the reason, of course, is that the way we manufacture things is changing.  We’re not using as many people, but we’re matching those people that we have in the factory with high-tech machinery and technology.

“And this is really the only way and the best way that we in the U.S. can compete in terms of manufacturing — particularly against countries that have much lower wage people and workers — and that is that we have to pair our higher paid workers with better technology and better machinery in order to elevate their output per worker.

“And that’s exactly — that’s exactly — what we’re doing.”

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