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Wages Continue to Fall in Manufacturing Jobs

November 30, 2014
Plain English Version

low wagesThe future is dim for people who work in manufacturing jobs. The nation lost more than six million production jobs from 2000 to 2010. Only 700,000 new blue-collar jobs were filled in the same period.

It is not only the loss of jobs that hurts. Real wages for manufacturing job workers are falling. The wages of those workers used to be higher than the pay in other private-sector jobs. Now, wages are lower. Real wages fell by 4.4 percent. That is much more of a loss than occurred in other private-sector jobs.

An expert said, “There still are many manufacturing jobs that are high-paying. However, they tend to be at the more senior level. And they usually require a lot more education than entry-level jobs do. And their numbers are shrinking, too.”

Another factor is that low-wage jobs are good for the economy, if not for the people who earn them. The reason is that companies will invest and hire more workers. The goods they make are less expensive. That leads to more exports.

The important thing is that companies make more profit if they pay their workers less.

The auto industry is still the biggest manufacturing sector. The assembly line jobs pay well. However, most of the jobs are in the making of car parts. The median wages for parts workers fell from $18.35 in 2003 to $15.83 an hour in 2013.

More and more part-time workers are being employed. They work for temporary worker companies. On an hourly basis, they are paid less and receive few, if any, benefits.

Low-paying and part-time work is the new norm. Will consumers have enough money to drive the economy?

Source: The New York Times November 20, 2014

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