DALLAS, Sept. 12, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- US manufacturing employment was relatively constant at 17 million during the period 1965-2000, but it fell to 12 million by 2010 and has recovered to only 12.3 million in 2015. Manufacturing workers, predominately men with no more than a high school degree, are representative of the demographic group most supportive of Donald Trump for president.
The economic hardships faced by manufacturing is a result of the general neglect of manufacturing, according to an article in the summer 2016 edition of Issues in Science and Technology by William B. Bonvillian, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Washington, DC, office: "The United States didn't take manufacturing seriously in recent decades because a series of well-established economic views reassured us that declines in manufacturing were more than offset by gains elsewhere in the economy." That didn't happen.
According to Bonvillian, the workers were not the only victims of the neglect of manufacturing. He argues that a healthy manufacturing sector is essential to maintaining the pace of technological innovation and thus to the overall health of the economy. And although production workers feel the brunt of the manufacturing decline, workers in a large number of related industries are also being adversely affected.
Bonvillian calls for a number of actions that could stimulate innovation through a strategic focus on manufacturing:
- federal R&D support for new manufacturing technologies and processes
- development of technology- and know-how-rich spaces where startup companies could test and launch pilot production projects
- new online and blended learning systems that can rapidly expand access for people to acquire the skills necessary for a high-performance manufacturing system.
He argues that neglect of manufacturing is essentially neglect of a large component of the US labor force that is beginning to feel alienated from the political system. A revived manufacturing sector could spur technological innovation, enhance economic productivity, and restore the faith of a large number of Americans in their political system.
ISSUES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY is the award-winning journal of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the University of Texas at Dallas and Arizona State University. www.issues.org.
Contact: Kevin Finneran 202-641-1415
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/lost-manufacturing-jobs-one-source-of-trump-popularity-in-article-in-issues-in-science-and-technology-300326442.html
SOURCE Issues in Science and Technology