Is the Successor to Manufacturing Jobs … Manufacturing?

April 17, 2013

When the factory jobs disappear, what comes next?

That’s one of the most important economic questions America has confronted over the last decade-plus – where are the new industries, the new big ideas, the new jobs that should be springing up to replace the millions of manufacturing jobs lost to outsourcing and automation?

President Obama hasn’t had much success cultivating a big new sector to fill that vacuum. Now, his administration is trying something small. It’s a pilot program to encourage new industry development in cities that have shed factory jobs. And the new industry it seeks to develop is – yep – manufacturing.

Obama’s acting commerce secretary, Rebecca Blank, announced a small-bore program Wednesday that hopes to plant the seeds of new, advanced manufacturing activity in cities across the country. (If the goal sounds familiar, it is – Obama has been preaching the virtues of advanced manufacturing since he first ran for president, like so many other American politicians.)

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