Globalization’s impact on U.S. manufacturing jobs.


The focus of globalization’s impact on the U.S. manufacturing industry has been skewed toward the trend of outsourcing manufacturing jobs to emerging markets such as China, India and Western Europe. The outsourcing or off-shoring of manufacturing jobs created a ground swell of negative reports about the dying manufacturing industry, but is it all true?

It’s evident that low-skill manufacturing jobs have in fact declined by the millions over the past three decades. If we take a closer look the other side effect of this shift, it has been a positive one – a transformation from low-skill to a high-skill manufacturing market. In fact, the U.S. has become the mecca for high-skilled manufacturing projects. As evidence, major car manufacturers including Honda and Toyota are establishing some of their most innovative and productive plants right here in the U.S.

Manufacturing is not dying here in the U.S. – it’s merely transforming, as the success and growth of manufacturing is a critical component of success in the U.S. economy. Adecco has a strong pulse on these trends through the hundreds of customers and job seekers we place in this industry every year. Read on for more insights...

Did you know?

  • Manufacturers are responsible for more than 70 percent of all business research and development (R&D), which ultimately benefits other manufacturing and non-manufacturing activities.

  • The United States is the world's second largest exporter; 61 percent of all U.S. exports are manufactured goods, double the level of 10 years ago.

  • Over the past two decades manufacturing productivity gains have been more than double (actual figure 2.5 times) that of other economic sectors. These gains enable Americans to do more with less, increase our ability to compete and facilitate higher wages for all employees.

  • Manufacturing today provides more rewarding employment. Manufacturing compensation averages more than $65,000, the highest in the private sector, and manufacturers are leaders in employee training.

There is a job for you.

To compete in today’s advanced and transformed manufacturing job market, we recommend upgrading your skills (see our article on “Sought-after Skills”). Opportunities are out there, but require a higher level of knowledge and tangible skills than ever before. To compete in the global manufacturing job market you need to be able to sell yourself as someone who understands the fast-changing dynamics of the industry, how to increase productivity, adapt to technology and solve problems creatively.

If you develop these assets, you can strengthen your ability to compete in the increasingly global marketplace. You may also want to consider relocating to a new market. Many American manufacturing companies are expanding into other markets, but want to have English-speaking staff to help them establish their business in these new markets. Adecco, as the world’s largest global staffing firm, can help you compete and secure a job locally or internationally in today’s evolving manufacturing industry.

For more insights on today’s manufacturing sector, be sure to speak with your local Adecco representative.