As manufacturing starts to make a shift back to the US, demand for jobs in other fields of work are becoming more essential to the business process. A whole multitude of jobs are needed to support the manufacturing process. Companies need to provide operations like IT support, supply chain management, and database experts to effectively produce products, and get them to the consumer. According to Pamela M. Prah, “This year, Ford is hiring 3,000 employees – 800 more than previously expected – of which 80 percent will be technical professionals.”
While Ford is hiring in-house technical employees, many companies choose not to hire for these support jobs and will instead outsource IT jobs to other American companies. This creates a demand for hundreds of jobs in the technology support and business solution industries. Think of manufacturing as the lead car in a train, also known as the pilot car. All the other cars are important and are needed to carry their portion of the load, but will remain still if there is no pilot to lead them.
Manufacturing and support jobs have an interdependent relationship. Support jobs cannot be created without manufacturing which provides a need for their services. Effective use of technology allows companies to save money in areas like supply chain, training and waste reduction, while spending more money on skilled American workers.
Manufacturing statistics are not always the best indicator of today’s manufacturing comeback. The key reason manufacturing is unlikely to return to the high numbers of jobs of past years is that the industry and its role in the US economy have changed. “In steelmaking, for example, the 94,000 people working in the industry in 2012 produced 14 percent more steel than nearly 400,000 workers did in 1980, a government report shows.”
To summarize recent reports, while the number of manufacturing jobs remains flat, the number of support jobs is on a steady incline. If manufacturing is the pilot car in the American job train, I think it’s safe to say these findings suggest we’re at a plateau, and the only way is up. So all aboard America!