Reviving Manufacturing

July 22, 2011 • Volume 21, Issue 26
Can the U.S. regain its global lead — and factory jobs?
By Peter Katel


A worker assembles a recreational vehicle (Cover: Getty Images/Scott Olson)
A worker assembles a recreational vehicle at the Middlebury, Ind., Jayco plant, where layoffs in 2009 cut the workforce by about one-third. More than 5 million U.S. manufacturing jobs have been lost since 2001. (Cover: Getty Images/Scott Olson)

The United States is losing its place as the global leader in high-tech innovation and manufacturing, say many business and Obama administration officials. They point to a steady decline in manufacturing's share of the U.S. economy — and the corresponding erosion of a key source of well-paying jobs. Most worrisome, they say, is the outsourcing of key high-tech products, including certain semiconductors, screens for some electronic reading devices and batteries for portable electronics. Defenders of globalized manufacturing argue that U.S.-based inventors and engineers devised most of those outsourced products and that high-end manufacturing will survive in the United States even if more factories are built abroad. Yet, both advocates and critics of globalization agree that young Americans aren't getting the training needed to keep the United States competitive in the high-tech arena.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Jobs and Skills
Feb. 04, 2022  The New Labor Market
Sep. 17, 2021  Career Change
Aug. 28, 2020  The Nature of Work
Sep. 21, 2018  Labor Shortage Debate
Mar. 30, 2018  U.S. Trade Policy
Oct. 04, 2013  Worker Safety
Mar. 02, 2012  Attracting Jobs
Jul. 22, 2011  Reviving Manufacturing
Jun. 04, 2010  Jobs Outlook
Feb. 20, 2004  Exporting Jobs
Jan. 11, 2002  Future Job Market
Apr. 24, 1998  High-Tech Labor Shortage
Oct. 24, 1997  Contingent Work Force
Feb. 28, 1992  Jobs in the '90s
Jun. 27, 1986  America's Service Economy
Jul. 22, 1983  Technology and Employment
Dec. 10, 1969  Jobs for the Future
Jun. 21, 1967  World Competition for Skilled Labor
Sep. 03, 1965  Shortage of Skills
Oct. 31, 1962  Retraining for New Jobs
Nov. 28, 1956  Shortage of Critical Skills
Export Sanctions and Restrictions