Part II: What Has Changed? Would You Use a Videotape in a Blu-ray Disc Player?
The days of semi-skilled blue-collar factory jobs are fast disappearing. These jobs once provided a 19-year-old high school graduate or drop-out with the wages and benefits needed to support a family with a middle-class standard of living. Thinking that working in low-skill manufacturing or service occupations will propel you into the middle-class today is as sensible as buying a videotape for a Blu-ray disc player. The decline of many types of U.S. manufacturing jobs was a hot political issue in both the 2016 and 2020 Presidential elections. The economic consequences of the closing of large manufacturing plants, particularly those making automobiles and large household appliances, have been especially severe. Many of these factories were located in smaller cities in which they were the central economic engines of their communities since the 1950s. They provided large numbers of assembly-line workers with well-paying, lower-skill blue-collar jobs. The growing prominence of electric vehicles has made such auto plants obsolete. The new technologies used in these vehicles mean that robotics are a central feature of their assembly lines. Such assembly lines depend on higher-skill workers who control, maintain, and repair the automated equipment. Manufacturing, in general, is undergoing a similar transition with jobs that support automated equipment growing dramatically. READ FULL ARTICLE >>