Edited by John R. Bryson, Jennifer Clark and Vida Vanchan
Chapter 27: The city and industry: deurbanizing manufacturing in New York City?
In the 1950s, New York City was the largest manufacturing hub in the United States, employing over one million workers in this sector (Liff, 1997). Today, manufacturers in the city employ about 75,000 people, or less than 3 percent of all local workers (Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), 2011). Planners and policymakers face a question of whether to attempt to retain the manufacturing that remains or let it go and foster service sector expansion instead. This mirrors a larger debate in the United States as a whole. Is manufacturing an obsolete activity in a mature economy, one that is more competitive in, and appropriate for, lower-wage and relatively underdeveloped countries? Or, should US workers retain the manufacturing skills that are left and upgrade them with advanced technologies? Public officials and other stakeholders in New York City are energetically debating these questions today – whether to retain manufacturing or not.
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