Edited by John R. Bryson, Jennifer Clark and Vida Vanchan
Outspoken politicians and academics have argued that we are on the verge of a manufacturing moment,” as manufacturing in the U.S. and other developed nations is poised to regain at least some of its competitive position. Though not yet robust, a continued growth of manufacturing activity in these nations seems increasingly plausible, at least in certain key industries. In the U.S., manufacturing employment has increased 4.4 percent since a recent low of 1.14 million jobs in January 2010 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2013). Boston Consulting Group (BCG) predicts that manufacturing growth could create between 2 and 3 million jobs in the next decade, with an estimated 600,000 to 1 million of them direct manufacturing jobs (Sirkin et al. 2012, p. 12). The Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, similarly predicts continued growth in high-wage manufacturing industries and those with high shipping costs, as well as modest growth in durable goods manufacturing, which is generally the middle-wage, more productive part of manufacturing (Helper et al. 2012). In the U.S., much of this predicted job growth is likely to come from the anticipated increase in exports that we can expect to accompany a burgeoning manufacturing sector.
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