Here’s a little factoid you might be interested in: The United States is neck and neck with China for the crown of largest manufacturer in the world. We’re bigger than Japan and we’re bigger than Germany. If you take China out of the mix there isn’t even anyone close.
So if that’s true then what’s the problem? The problem is the loss of the middle class. If you own a business, you need customers. We know that in the United States consumers are king as the driver of our economy. Without consumers our economy goes away and we become a second rate country. Unfortunately, that’s the direction we’re headed.
But wait, there’s at least a little good news on the horizon.
I recently read an article that said both Apple and GE were starting to bring manufacturing back to the US. Apple will start to build some of their Macintosh computers here next year. GE is bringing lots of appliance manufacturing back to the US. Both are doing this because it’s the right thing to do for the economics of their companies.
I’ve been saying that manufacturing will return to this country.
First, let’s get something straight. Manufacturing employment has left this country. But, at the same time the amount of goods manufactured in the US has continued to climb every year since at least 1980. What this means is that we’ve learned how to do more with less. We’re more efficient.
The reason that GE and Apple are bringing back manufacturing to this country is because we’re better at it then most other countries in the world. If it’s something that’s really complicated the US is very good. If its low tech, there are better places in the world to make stuff.
We’re seeing that not only are we really good at making stuff, we do it right the first time.
In the early 80’s we were convinced as a nation that Japan was going to overtake us and do so for good. Japan was kicking our rear end because of their ability to make quality goods.
If we fast forward to today, we find that the US and Germany have taken over the lead as the countries that produce quality products. We can be proud of the fact that the US makes great stuff. Today if you want to buy a foreign car there is a very good chances it’s made right here. We’ve become the quality manufacturer. It’s our competitive edge against the rest of the world.
If all of these positive things are happening what’s the problem?
It’s the fact that we’re so good and so efficient we’re not creating enough jobs. We need a really skilled workforce to keep up with the improvements that are necessary to bring jobs back. We need schools to start being tougher on their students.
We need a higher requirement in science and math. We need to have schools teaching our kids how to use advanced machinery that’s used in manufacturing right now. We need to have our schools teach skills to our children so they can compete.
Part of the national malaise that is based on there is good and bad news in everything. As a country we only focus on the bad things. Let’s start focusing on the good and figuring out how we can increase good and have less bad. If we don’t, we become a second-class country and none of us want that.
We’ve put together a special report on 7 Myths of the Private Business Owner. Just as we’ve busted a few myths in this post, this report helps you understand that business owners are often misunderstood. To get your copy of this report, click on the button below.