By Wasana Nadeeshani Sellahewa
(Commonwealth) _ Some industries have prospered while others have struggled as a result of years of unequal development across sectors and regions. Numerous minor settlements have been left behind while major centres have grown. The labor market has become more segregated, with a rise in the number of high- and low-wage workers and a reduction in the number of middle-wage workers.
Inequality has been fueled by these factors, and the epidemic has only made things worse. More people will be left behind if we do nothing, which will hurt the American economy. Manufacturing has not recently seen the same prosperity as other industries, despite its enormous contribution to the economy. Its relative worldwide share has decreased from 25% to 17% during the previous 20 years, notwithstanding its absolute growth.
Unemployment has grown as manufacturing has decreased. The United States now leads the G7 in terms of economic inequality. According to McKinsey Global Institute research, revitalizing development and competitiveness in 16 important industrial sectors may increase annual GDP by more than 15%. The global supply chain problems that are causing havoc might also be resolved by strengthening the sector, reducing the short-term disruption brought on by the epidemic while enhancing long- to medium-term global competitiveness.
There are many businesses producing considerable shareholder value in the manufacturing industry. Capital markets and investors should start paying attention. Renewing capital stock in American manufacturing might enable the sector to reach its full potential and attract investment worth billions of dollars. This would not only help to update and digitize manufacturing infrastructure, but it would also start a positive feedback loop that would boost economic activity across the nation.
Supporting investments in this area might also play a significant role in addressing place-based disparities from coast to coast, particularly in regions excluded from the burgeoning financial and tech sectors.
Already, manufacturing drives the nation’s economy and serves as the principal employment in around 500 counties. In certain places, the sector more inclusively employs a wider range of the general population. Manufacturing is a major instrument for opening up more options for more people because employees often don’t require a four-year degree and earn more money than service occupations. These counties provide us with a success road map.
A combined focus on modernization and worker development will be necessary to reap the benefits of a vibrant manufacturing sector.
Despite the industry’s rapid transition to a digital, automated, sophisticated, and sustainable future, many smaller firms lack the resources to stay up. To provide these enterprises with the workforce and funding they require to prosper, innovation and collaboration from throughout the economy are required. Leaders from the private and governmental sectors may aid in the modernization of smaller industrial facilities by providing funding initiatives and focused business accelerators.
It will be necessary to improve the industry’s standing among workers in order to attract fresh talent. With support for trade schools and university collaborations, businesses should interact with communities and schools. The advancements in the business and the benefits it offers workers—perhaps most crucially, its stable positions with prospects for professional advancement—will be attracted to young people as a result.
However, just hiring new workers will not be sufficient; it is also important to focus on enhancing the skills of current employees, particularly in the area of digitalization. Without it, the gap between what individuals can do now and what many open positions demand would only become wider. The planets may soon line up. The public and private sectors are firmly committed to supporting an industry that has long been a cornerstone of the American economy.