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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press The State of Manufacturing Employment in the United States

The State of Manufacturing Employment in the United States

Monday, 10 March 2014 05:12

Lydia DePillis has a good piece in the WaPo on the increasing use of contract labor in manufacturing, focusing on the Nissan plant in Smyna, Tennessee. The piece points out that contract workers get lower pay and benefits and lack the security of workers employed directly by the company.

Comments (7)Add Comment
All Labor is Perfect Substitutes: Get Over It
written by Last Mover, March 10, 2014 7:28

Well yes, but as any good economist knows this is an efficiency move that keeps labor highly mobile.

The goal of course is to convert all labor into on-demand 24/7 labor available on short notice for only a few hours of work. Don't answer the phone and you get no work for the day.

The only hurdle to achieving this objective is the usual problem of structural unemployment. Employers are very frustrated that all labor is not perfect substitutes, in which case they can just call anyone for anything that needs to be done.

But they're working on it by refusing to pay anyone for any skills at all, so the problem will be fixed soon and the big bonus is a perfectly homogeneous labor force with no skills always results in full employment.

BTW doctors and lawyers are really pissed about this, getting calls from clients demanding if they don't show up right away to provide service at the same pay as a fast food worker, someone else will be hired.
should have had a companion piece on unemployed workers in Detroit...
written by pete, March 10, 2014 11:13
I mean really. This piece offers no criticism of the employee staying in the job he does not like, and living so far from his job. And with 20% or more real unemployment, it seems odd to offer criticism of an employer which is actually hiring people, and allowing them to work extended hours. Wow. As I learned long ago, the only way to really move up is to switch jobs.
The 4 am Army
written by Ellis, March 10, 2014 11:57
Back in June 2013, Time magazine ran a very good overview of the rise of temp work for big companies.
Just Like Old Times...
written by leo from Chicago, March 10, 2014 2:04
"The company payroll listed only the contractors, not the workers they hired, so Triangle never knew exactly how many people were working for them."

-Janell Broyles, "The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911".
that's how they're gutting academia too
written by Squeezed Turnip, March 10, 2014 10:36
adjunct family on annual contracts can have an appalling lack of benefits.
written by watermelonpunch, March 11, 2014 7:21
What always bugs me about these things is that people will then say these people have a choice, that they know what they're getting into.

Like yeah, you have a choice whether to survive or not I guess. So I assume that's what those people mean when they say that... just shut up or die I guess.
We are all Bangladesh
written by Bart, March 11, 2014 3:00

Wait until the Republicans get in and start weakening child labor laws.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.