Advanced manufacturing will need to fill 3.5 million jobs over the next decade, according to an article in the Atlantic. While the planned shut-down of a Carrier plant in Indiana made news, smaller neighboring companies like Micropulse are doing just fine, thank you very much. “I’m bullish on manufacturing here,” the Micropulse CEO told The Atlantic.

The company, which makes orthopedic implants and tools, has grown from 190 to 306 in the past 9 years. According to the article, “Micropulse is an example of the type of manufacturing that’s not going to disappear anytime soon from United States. It makes high-value products that would be difficult to make overseas because they are constantly being updated and are highly regulated. Many of these products are made by machines, but Emerick still needs workers to run and program those machines and to inspect the products once they’re completed.”

The growth of advanced manufacturing can be seen in many different metrics:

  • The average factory worker makes $180,000 worth of goods every year, more than three times the productivity of 1978.
  • Manufacturing still makes up about 12.5 percent of America’s gross domestic product, the same as it did in 1960.
  • The average manufacturing worker now makes $26 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • While overall manufacturing employment in Indiana fell 35% from 2000 to 2010, the state now boasts the highest share of advanced manufacturing jobs in the country.
  • Since 2000, jobs in manufacturing for people with graduate degrees have grown by 32 percent, according to the Congressional Research Service.

The bottom line, according to the article: “The mantra that we’ve lost good-paying jobs to China is exactly wrong,” said Michael Hicks, an economics professor at Ball State University who has studied manufacturing in Indiana. “We’ve lost the bad-paying jobs to China and gained good-paying jobs.”

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