Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Manufacturing Mythos

So the President is coming to Pittsburgh on Friday to talk about manufacturing.  We may be at the point now where people forget how much manufacturing was lost here.  At the beginning of the 1970's the region had just over 325 thousand manufacturing jobs.  Depending on the month, we are around 90 thousand today.  It's almost hard to imagine the region if we took Pittsburgh today and added in the net 235K manufacturing jobs that were lost.  It's even a bit hard to figure where we would be right now if we just added back in the 40 thousand or so manufacturing jobs lost in just the last decade.  Yes, that really is the story of late.  It's not all ancient history and 40K manufacuring jobs that were here in 2000 are not here now.  Whatever story you want to paint on how Pittsburgh is doing economically, you have to talk about it realizing the story includes continuing hits. Not just the manufacturing loss, but all the USAirways jobs as well for that matter. 

Anyway, this is what the long term manufacturing trend looks like. Still scary to look at and it's just lines on a page. Each job was someone's career, in most cases their only career, and in many households the only wage earner. Lots of pain in that graph.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Wednesday, June 22, 2011 4:35:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

Some guy who lost his blue marker over a decade ago.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011 6:00:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

A source? This is a blog man.. it's all fiction.

But for the data intermediary for this, see where the series labeled CA25 and CA25N on this page:

Thursday, June 23, 2011 9:54:00 AM  
Anonymous MSL said...

If many of those workers had been more willing to work with management to set wages and benefits at a level that would have allowed their employers to remain competitive with international companies in the 70's, some of those jobs might still be here. I can't say I feel too sorry for them.

Thursday, June 23, 2011 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger JRoth said...

Read "And the Wolf Finally Came", MSL. You'll learn a lot. Like about how companies are run by people called "managers," and about how the managers for the large, integrated steel companies were terrible at their jobs.

Thursday, June 23, 2011 2:59:00 PM  
Blogger JRoth said...

Incidentally, I happened upon Rick Sebak's QED doc on local manufacturing. It's not that old - 2004 or later, I think), but at least a third of the manufactories he toured are gone - Iron City, Glenshaw Glass, the Sony plant. Very grim.

Oh, except that those people deserved it, for kiting checks (Iron City) and overinvesting in CRT technology (Sony); I'm sure those glassmaking bastards were at fault as well.

Thursday, June 23, 2011 3:02:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

Their glass keeps breaking when I drop it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011 3:09:00 PM  
Anonymous n'at said...

Concessions, concessions. Pay someone a wage so they're able to purchase insurance in the open market AND can feed, clothe and provide shelter for themselves and their dependents without government assistance, then we'll talk about reducing taxes on the wealthy and their businesses.

Thursday, June 23, 2011 7:58:00 PM  

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