Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 57

Thread: Does the US Make Anything Anymore?

  1. #1
    Global Moderator
    Comrade Commissar
    TopHatter's Avatar
    Join Date
    03 Sep 03
    Posts
    14,648

    Does the US Make Anything Anymore?

    Does the US Make Anything Anymore?

    It may seem like the country that used to make everything is on the brink of making nothing.

    In January, 207,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs vanished in the largest one-month drop since October 1982. Factory activity is hovering at a 28-year low. Even before the recession, plants were hemorrhaging work to foreign competitors with cheap labor. And some companies were moving production overseas.

    But manufacturing in the United States isn't dead or even dying. It's moving upscale, following the biggest profits, and becoming more efficient, just like Henry Ford did when he created the assembly line to make the Model T.

    The U.S. by far remains the world's leading manufacturer by value of goods produced. It hit a record $1.6 trillion in 2007 -- nearly double the $811 billion in 1987. For every $1 of value produced in China's factories, America generates $2.50.

    So what's made in the USA these days?

    The U.S. sold more than $200 billion worth of aircraft, missiles and space-related equipment in 2007. And $80 billion worth of autos and auto parts. Deere, best known for its bright green and yellow tractors, sold $16.5 billion worth of farming equipment last year, much of it to the rest of the world. Then there's energy products like gas turbines for power plants made by General Electric, computer chips from Intel and fighter jets from Lockheed Martin. Household names like GE, General Motors, IBM, Boeing, Hewlett-Packard are among the largest manufacturers by revenue.


    -- America makes things that other countries can't. Today, "Made in USA" is more likely to be stamped on heavy equipment or the circuits that go inside other products than the TVs, toys, clothes and other items found on store shelves.

    -- U.S. companies have shifted toward high-end manufacturing as the production of low-value goods moves overseas. This has resulted in lower prices for shoppers and higher profits for companies.

    -- When demand slumps, all types of manufacturing jobs are lost. Some higher-end jobs -- but not all -- return with good times. Workers who make goods more cheaply produced overseas suffer.

    Once this recession runs its course, surviving manufacturers will emerge more efficient and profitable, economists say. More valuable products will be made using fewer people. Products will be made where labor and other costs are cheaper. And manufacturers will focus on the most lucrative products.

    Aircraft maker Boeing announced last month it was cutting about 10,000 jobs. At the same time, workers are streamlining the wing assembly for the 737, the company's best-selling commercial plane, said Richard McCabe, a wing line mechanic for 10 years and former Machinists union shop steward.

    He and his co-workers at the factory in suburban Renton, Wash., were asked about 31/2 years ago to figure out how to switch from building wings in massive stationary jigs mounted vertically, "the way things have been done here forever," to "one-piece flow," assembling them horizontally on a moving line similar to automobiles. The new process is set to begin by the end of the year.

    "I won't go to the wing. The wing will come to me," McCabe said. "It's going to save them millions in scrap and rework."

    McCabe said there was a lot of initial resistance on the shop floor, but Boeing's increased outsourcing -- including wing production for the new 787 to Japan -- helped change workers' minds.

    "I told the guys, it's development or die," McCabe said. "If we can get this done, it assures us the future."

    About 12.7 million Americans, or 8 percent of the labor force, still held manufacturing jobs as of last month. Fifty years ago, 14.6 million people, or 28 percent of all workers, toiled in factories. The numbers -- though painful to those who lost jobs -- show how companies are making more with less.

    Still, the perception of decline is likely to grow as factories and jobs vanish, and imports rise for most goods we buy at stores.

    Thirty years ago, U.S. producers made 80 percent of what the country consumed, according to the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI, an industry trade group. Now it's around 65 percent.

    American factories still provide much of the processed food that Americans buy, everything from frozen fish sticks to cans of beer. And U.S. companies make a considerable share of the personal hygiene products like soap and shampoo, cleaning supplies, and prescription drugs that are sold in pharmacies. But many other consumer goods now come from overseas.

    In the 1960s, America made 98 percent of its shoes. It now imports more than 90 percent of its footwear. The iconic red Radio Flyer wagons for kids are now made in China.

    Even Apple's iPod comes in box that says it was made in China but "designed in California."

    "Some people lament the loss of manufacturing jobs we could have had making iPods. So what?" said Dan Ikenson, associate director of the Center for Trade Policy Studies at the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute. "The imports of iPods support U.S. jobs," including engineers, marketers and advertisers.

    Some U.S.-made products are hiding in plain sight.

    Berner International, based outside Pittsburgh, doesn't make the clothes, dishes or sponges sold at Wal-Mart, but its products hang above shoppers' heads as soon they come through the sliding doors.

    The company's 60 employees make air curtains -- rectangular blowers mounted to the ceiling that keep out hot or chilly air, insects and dust while keeping in A/C and heat.

    Also called air doors, they hang from ceilings at Wal-Marts, Whole Foods, and Starbucks, and above the big factory doors at Ford and Toyota car plants.

    Chief executive Georgia Berner keeps her company in the United States because she relies on her staff's deep knowledge of air blowers, which are custom made for clients using metal plates, fans, motors and electronic parts assembled at the company's 60,000-square-foot factory. Each box requires specific voltages and sizing, she says.

    "I have a crew here (with) much of the product knowledge in (their) heads," she said.

    To deal with the recession, her production manager is making the factory more efficient by move shelves of parts closer to workers.

    She's also banking on a new line of air curtains for fast food drive through windows, noting that fast food demand is on the rise while other restaurants decline.

    Other companies saddled with high labor costs -- sometimes called legacy costs that insured workers high wages, pensions and handsome benefits -- can struggle to survive.

    In the early 1980s, the U.S. steel industry faced such pressure. Today, it's the auto industry, which is pressuring its unions to agree to deep reductions in pay and generous benefits. In fact, it's a condition of the $17.4 billion in emergency loans from the government to keep the industry in business.

    But other American manufacturers -- and workers -- have adapted.

    Judy Horkman, 47, of Manitowoc, Wis., was devastated when she was laid off after 13 years of attaching handles to saute pans on the Mirro Cookware plant assembly line. But two years ago, Horkman took a job making industrial light fixtures for office buildings and warehouses at Orion Energy Systems. She makes $12.50 per hour -- not quite the $13.80 she earned at Mirro, but Horkman says she is fine with that.

    Horkman said she takes tremendous pride in her work. When she assembled cookware she imagined that she would personally use the final product. When she switched to making lighting, she was driven by the same Golden Rule.

    "Regardless of my product I'd put my heart into it. I put my hard work, my dedication, my quality into whatever I make," she said. "I just imagine someone out there really needs this, and I think about how good I'd want it to be if it was for me." Link
    Interesting article, considering the economic times.
    Far better it is to dare mighty things, than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat ~ Theodore Roosevelt

  2. #2
    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
    Join Date
    27 Jan 06
    Location
    DPRK, Demokratik People's Republik of Kalifornia
    Posts
    22,736
    Let's move those manufacturing jobs back. We need to make our own cheap toys, low tech household items, paper products, bubble wraps, and other mundane stuff we lost to India and China.

    I keep telling people we still make stuff, just not the stuff we buy at Walmart, and they think I'm crazy...
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

  3. #3
    Senior Contributor
    Join Date
    07 Oct 08
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    5,229
    We have the finest aerospace industry in the world and our computers are still top notch.
    Lest I forget the most important products we create let me tell you about a free electric heater that comes with a handcrafted amish mantle and will cut your energy bills in half and also the space age SHAMWOW which can soak up a gazillion times it's weight in water and of course the chia pet.

  4. #4
    Senior Contributor antimony's Avatar
    Join Date
    22 Feb 08
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    2,927
    I visited the Boeing Plant in Everett, WA this weekend. This plant makes the commercial jets like 747, 777 and the new 787 Dreamliner.

    In a word, AWESOME!!!

    One interesting point to note was that while the massive 747 takes forever to build (3-4 a month) the new 787, made of composite materials a lot of which is prefabricated and imported from all over the world, takes about 3 days apiece, as well as being about $100 mil cheaper. Of course, they do not carry as many passengers as the 747 (the largest jet in Boeing's lineup) but they are packed with technology and have far better utilizaton of space.

  5. #5
    New Member
    Join Date
    17 Feb 09
    Posts
    3
    Let's move those manufacturing jobs back. We need to make our own cheap toys, low tech household items, paper products, bubble wraps, and other mundane stuff we lost to India and China.
    i am agree with that opinion

  6. #6
    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
    Join Date
    27 Jan 06
    Location
    DPRK, Demokratik People's Republik of Kalifornia
    Posts
    22,736
    Quote Originally Posted by elsharief View Post
    i am agree with that opinion
    Are you being sarcastic about my sarcasm?
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

  7. #7
    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
    Join Date
    27 Jan 06
    Location
    DPRK, Demokratik People's Republik of Kalifornia
    Posts
    22,736
    Quote Originally Posted by Roosveltrepub View Post
    We have the finest aerospace industry in the world and our computers are still top notch.
    Lest I forget the most important products we create let me tell you about a free electric heater that comes with a handcrafted amish mantle and will cut your energy bills in half and also the space age SHAMWOW which can soak up a gazillion times it's weight in water and of course the chia pet.
    Sir, please step away from the TV.

    Thank you. Come again.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

  8. #8
    Senior Contributor
    Join Date
    20 Jun 07
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia.
    Posts
    2,578
    I used to love US Clothing i.e. Jeans, 'T' Shirts and Polo Tops. Nice sturdy clothing, lasted an age, now look at the crap we get now.

  9. #9
    Global Moderator
    Devil's Advocate
    ArmchairGeneral's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 May 06
    Location
    Boston, MA.
    Posts
    4,668
    Quote Originally Posted by Chaobam Armour View Post
    I used to love US Clothing i.e. Jeans, 'T' Shirts and Polo Tops. Nice sturdy clothing, lasted an age, now look at the crap we get now.
    Check out Carhart.
    I enjoy being wrong too much to change my mind.

  10. #10
    Distant Deeps or Skies Senior Contributor HistoricalDavid's Avatar
    Join Date
    19 Jul 05
    Location
    North London, UK
    Posts
    2,292
    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    Are you being sarcastic about my sarcasm?
    Yeah, because that's soooooo obvious...
    HD Ready?

  11. #11
    Herodotus
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Roosveltrepub View Post
    We have the finest aerospace industry in the world and our computers are still top notch.
    Lest I forget the most important products we create let me tell you about a free electric heater that comes with a handcrafted amish mantle and will cut your energy bills in half and also the space age SHAMWOW which can soak up a gazillion times it's weight in water and of course the chia pet.
    Actually the SHAMWOW comes from Germany. Most of the hardware for our computers is made overseas too. Boeing is one of the few industry leaders for the US, but Airbus has cut into a market that the US had a virtual monopoly on.

  12. #12
    Senior Contributor
    Join Date
    07 Oct 08
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    5,229
    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    Sir, please step away from the TV.

    Thank you. Come again.
    you mean SHAMWOW and the Chia pet aren't signifigant gifts to mankind?

  13. #13
    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
    Join Date
    27 Jan 06
    Location
    DPRK, Demokratik People's Republik of Kalifornia
    Posts
    22,736
    Quote Originally Posted by Roosveltrepub View Post
    you mean SHAMWOW and the Chia pet aren't signifigant gifts to mankind?
    Not at all. I just didn't want to see more TV commercials during my escape from reality on WAB.
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

  14. #14
    Senior Contributor bonehead's Avatar
    Join Date
    12 Jan 05
    Posts
    5,661
    Quote Originally Posted by antimony View Post
    I visited the Boeing Plant in Everett, WA this weekend. This plant makes the commercial jets like 747, 777 and the new 787 Dreamliner.

    In a word, AWESOME!!!

    One interesting point to note was that while the massive 747 takes forever to build (3-4 a month) the new 787, made of composite materials a lot of which is prefabricated and imported from all over the world, takes about 3 days apiece, as well as being about $100 mil cheaper. Of course, they do not carry as many passengers as the 747 (the largest jet in Boeing's lineup) but they are packed with technology and have far better utilizaton of space.
    I worked in that plant during the summer of 2007. Remodeling the 5 story office building just to the other side of the 747 assembly line. Most people cant imagine how big the assembly plant is until they either walk it for themselves or wrap their brain around the fact that the assembly plant has room for three assembly lines of planes and 5 story office buildings inside. I also did a bit of duct work at other locations inside the plant. I burned a lot of shoe leather on that job. For the first two weeks or so I must have looked like a kid in a candy store while going to and from work. Many interesting things happened while I was there.

  15. #15
    Military Professional
    Join Date
    30 Apr 08
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    799
    Well, we still make this.


Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Is Tom Delay Finally Gone?
    By Broken in forum American Politics & Economy
    Replies: 101
    Last Post: 21 Sep 13,, 17:44
  2. Where anti-Arab prejudice and oil make the difference
    By Ray in forum International Economy
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 17 May 07,, 09:45
  3. Replies: 21
    Last Post: 01 Dec 06,, 05:40
  4. Help for THL
    By Ray in forum World Affairs Board Pub
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 23 Sep 06,, 04:43
  5. How to make a scuicide bomber
    By platinum786 in forum Operation Enduring Freedom and Af-Pak
    Replies: 61
    Last Post: 28 Oct 05,, 16:17

Share this thread with friends:

Share this thread with friends:

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •