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February 28, 2017

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Ian Dykes

Manufacturing jobs are boring and require a certain mindset. Sending the jobs abroad means those workers either a) do more intelligent jobs worse; or 2) are permanently unemployable. A graduate will not do a manufacturing job at same rate of productivity as a lower educated worker as the graduate will have attitude issues. Hence dropping productivity from educated workforce.

Martin Holterman

Isn't this a case of the Jevons paradox in reverse? Productivity improves, so the related products get cheaper, so more consumption (and therefore weight in the productivity metrics) switches to other products?

From Arse To Elbow

The improvement of productivity in the 80s was in part simply a return to trend following the negative impact of the oil-price shocks of the 70s, though higher business churn (i.e. exit/entry) following the carnage of the early-80s will also have played a significant part in this.

Technology (digitisation) did provide a boost to manufacturing in the 1990s, though again this was amplified by the churn occasioned by the recession early in the decade. It's possible that the current low impact of technology on manufacturing productivity growth reflects the limited company churn since 2008 - i.e. extend and pretend and weak wage growth pressure are bigger problems than a lack of innovation.

PS (and in response to Ian Dykes), manufacturing jobs are not intrinsically boring. People like making things and solving problems. In comparison, service industry jobs are often tedious and more alienating (in the sense of not seeing the fruits of your labour). While some have a high anxiety/satisfaction spectrum because of direct human interaction, a lot involve screen-based admin and old=fashioned paper shuffling.

tired of armchair "experts"

"Manufacturing jobs are not intrinsically boring."

Clearly From Arse To Elbow has never worked in manufacturing.

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