- The Washington Times - Monday, July 12, 2010


In his Monday Opinion column, “Revitalize American manufacturing,” writer Ron Bullock blames “more effective foreign competition” for “the loss of 7 million U.S. manufacturing jobs since 1980.”

This account - repeated ad nauseam - would be more plausible if it were also the case that U.S. manufacturing output, during this same time, had declined. But this output rose. As explained in a new study by researchers at Wells Fargo, U.S. manufacturing output today is nearly 100 percent higher than it was 30 years ago. Importantly, manufacturing output is up while manufacturing employment is down for a reason that is cause not for the pessimism that universally attends accounts such as Mr. Bullock’s but rather for optimism.

That reason is substantial growth in productivity, which is the only source of sustained and widespread prosperity. So, rather than lament the fact that we get more manufacturing output today by using fewer workers, we should celebrate - in the same way that we celebrate the fact that we get more agricultural output from fewer and fewer workers.


Professor of economics

George Mason University

Fairfax, Va.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide