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Foxconn workers  (Source: Kotaku)
A growing Chinese economy and a need to tend to manufacturing workers' needs has upped the cost of labor

Years ago, several U.S. manufacturers moved production plants to China in an effort to cut labor costs. However, the age of cheap labor in China is ending as annual wages for manufacturing workers continue to grow, and now, some of the larger plants in China are looking for a new home.

Originally, toys, footwear, and textiles were among the first to go to China decades ago. With 1.3 billion people, cheap labor in China seemed unlimited at the time. But in the last two decades, this began to change as a "frenzied" infrastructure and housing build-out caused a flourishing economy that has grown nearly 12 percent per year. In addition, the Chinese government raised the minimum wage 14 percent to 21 percent this year alone in the five largest manufacturing provinces. 

"We've seen our wage costs in China go up nearly 50 percent in the last two years alone," said Charles Hubbs of Guangzhou Fortunique, which is a medical supply company for some of the United States' largest health care companies. "It's harder to keep workers on now, and it's more expensive to attract new ones. It's gotten to the point where I'm actively looking for alternatives. I think I'll be out of here entirely in a couple of years."

But where will plants go to next? Countries like India, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam are a few options for cheap labor. Also, some companies like Wham-O, a toy company, are returning to the U.S. Last year, Wham-O moved 50 percent of its Frisbee and Hula Hoop production to the U.S. According to a study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), China's average wage rate was 36 percent of the United States' in 2000, and by the end of 2010, this "gap" shrunk to 48 percent. By 2015, BCG predicts it will be 69 percent. 

"So while the discussion in the short term favors China, the spread is getting down to a smaller and smaller number," said Hal Sirkin, leader of the study and senior partner at BCG. "Increasingly, what you're seeing [in corporate boardrooms] is a discussion not necessarily about closing production in China but about 'Where I will locate my next plant?'"

Production in China will not close entirely for most companies because even though labor costs have increased, they're still cheaper than most other places. Right now, the average manufacturing wage in China is about $3.10 an hour, while it is $22.30 in the United States. In the eastern part of China, it is about 50 percent more than the average $3.10 wage elsewhere. 

China sees this new shift as a good thing. After the Foxconn suicides and high-profile labor protests last year, wages were increased. Also, many multinational and Chinese companies have relocated or even expanded inland for cheap labor, meaning that people in Henan or Sichuan can find jobs closer to home and do not have to live in a company dormitory. Manufacturing workers, like 24-year-old Wu Dingli, say they prefer working closer to home, even if it means making a bit less money than jobs further away. 

"Life is much easier for me here because I'm closer to home," said Dingli, who left an electronics factory job in Dongguan for a electric cable supply job in Chongqing. "I much prefer this job to the old one."

In addition to making life easier for employees, rising wages will give more money to the people, which will in turn increase Chinese consumption. This will benefit Beijing's major trading partners, who can then decrease "drastic imbalances" in global trade. 

While exporters like Hubbs will feel the effect of higher wages, the bottom line is that China is becoming wealthier with a stronger currency, and the time of cheap labor is coming to an end.



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RE: Good...
By Motoman on 6/20/2011 11:39:14 AM , Rating: 5
Better idea: learn a skill that's worth paying you a non-minimum wage for.


RE: Good...
By 91TTZ on 6/20/2011 11:46:39 AM , Rating: 5
$22.30 isn't minimum wage.


RE: Good...
By Motoman on 6/20/2011 12:11:05 PM , Rating: 2
Correct. And if it's a union job paying that wage, it's probably not laboe that's worth it.


RE: Good...
By room200 on 6/20/2011 1:31:02 PM , Rating: 3
Who are you to decide what a person's labor is worth? You wouldn't get paid the amount if you wern't worth it. Otherwise, if they could get it done cheaper elsewhere, they'd do it. The laborer is getting paid what the market will tolerate.


RE: Good...
By weskurtz0081 on 6/20/2011 1:52:29 PM , Rating: 5
You can find case after case where unions drove jobs out of states, Pittsburgh is a great example. So, while you are right, the person you responded to doesn't make the decision of what labor is worth, unions throughout history have been known to drive the cost of doing business higher than the business could afford, thus driving business out of that area. So, you are kind of right, history shows, businesses DO go elsewhere and get the same product/service with lower costs.


RE: Good...
By Motoman on 6/20/2011 2:05:07 PM , Rating: 4
No, the point you've made shows that he's *not* right.

Unions drive the wage up far past what the market would normally bear for that labor. Which is why the business ultimately either goes bankrupt, or overseas. In either case, the union always screws the workers they were supposed to be "protecting."


RE: Good...
By weskurtz0081 on 6/20/2011 2:10:28 PM , Rating: 2
That was my point though, in kind of a smart ass way. My main point though is, not ALL unions cause this sort of problem, but most of the big ones that we all know about are guilty of doing exactly that. They have too much power (and thank god the employee free choice act didn't pass) over the employer and the only solution ends up being to move or shut down.


RE: Good...
By room200 on 6/20/2011 2:53:09 PM , Rating: 2
Unions are free to do what businesses do all the time; they speculate, gamble, collude, etc. to drive up the prices that you and I pay. Furthermore, your argument that businesses fail when prices get too high they go overseas? As you can see the whole point of the article is it's only a matter of time before that cheap overseas labor isn't so cheap anymore and it becomes more cost-effective to make your crap at home. If the business fails? Isn't the idea of the free market let them fail and another will takes its place?


RE: Good...
By weskurtz0081 on 6/20/2011 3:39:09 PM , Rating: 4
You are changing the argument. He said it's probably not labor that is worth it, you said it's not his decision rather it belongs to the market. While it is true that it belongs to the market, it's also true that often time union labor costs are to high on not sustainable in the long run, which is why businesses move to different states/countries (among a whole other host of reasons).

I would also like to point out, unions are not FREE to collude, collusion is illegal. And, the over seas labor is only starting to not be cost effective in China, now businesses are just building factories in other countries, most of which do NOT include the US.

So, as long as you are fine with losing jobs to other countries due to lower labor costs, then we have nothing to really debate. I, on the other hand, would rather not have unions driving the cost of doing business up to the point where it's no longer feasible to do business here. Just like Boeing and the Washington plant issue. Boeing is trying to move its manufacturing to other states, do you think Washington residents would rather keep the union or Boeing?


RE: Good...
By room200 on 6/20/2011 4:39:19 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
You are changing the argument. He said it's probably not labor that is worth it, you said it's not his decision rather it belongs to the market. While it is true that it belongs to the market, it's also true that often time union labor costs are to high on not sustainable in the long run, which is why businesses move to different states/countries (among a whole other host of reasons).


You keep using terms like "too high". Too high according to whom? My point is that, according to this article, businesses may move to other countries but there will come a time when it is no longer cost-effective to do so.

quote:
I would also like to point out, unions are not FREE to collude, collusion is illegal. And, the over seas labor is only starting to not be cost effective in China, now businesses are just building factories in other countries, most of which do NOT include the US.


Of course collusion may be illegal, but companies do it all the time. i think it's a given. And there will come a time, as in China, those other countries will eventually say "No more cheap labor here. Pay us more or leave."

quote:
So, as long as you are fine with losing jobs to other countries due to lower labor costs, then we have nothing to really debate. I, on the other hand, would rather not have unions driving the cost of doing business up to the point where it's no longer feasible to do business here. Just like Boeing and the Washington plant issue. Boeing is trying to move its manufacturing to other states, do you think Washington residents would rather keep the union or Boeing?


Please, let's be honest here; it isn't about driving up the cost of business so that it's not feasible to do business. It's that the companies large enough to move have said we want to make HUGE profits. There is no amount that will satisfy them. Even when they are making such huge profits, they still compalin about taxes and they still don't hire.

What good is keeping low-paying jobs here that would actually serve to keep people poor and living on the street? There many working people who are homeless. I keep hearing these posts about self-worth, education, and othe judgemental nonsense. There are a bunch of people with degrees who are homeless, and I'm sure they thought they were irreplaceable at one time too.

I don't belong to a union, but understand why they are needed. Unions are the only voice middle-class workers have. Corporations have their millions/billion, lobbyists, etc. Who speaks up for the working stiff?


RE: Good...
By someguy123 on 6/20/2011 10:08:42 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see how it's fair to justify being conniving based off speculation. Public businesses need profits to satisfy their investors as well as themselves. If the business isn't turning a profit they hurt their investors more than their own board's pockets.

There's much more at stake when you're attempting to suck more dollars out of a company you assume is paying too much to their executives. You end up hitting a lot of the public investors, as well as the local economy if the business is driven out.

Unions should base their goals and wages on free market competition, not on the assumption that their management is too rich and that they "deserve" more money for the same work, even though they can't find jobs that deliver more money.


RE: Good...
By Fost04mach on 6/22/2011 5:38:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't belong to a union, but understand why they are needed. Unions are the only voice middle-class workers have. Corporations have their millions/billion, lobbyists, etc. Who speaks up for the working stiff?


Explain to me why a middle-class worker needs a voice louder than his own - on his own two feet - walking off the job if he's not happy? If a job is really paying too little, nobody will do it. You don't need a union, or government, to force the wage higher. The corporation will have trouble finding attracting labor if their wages are too low.

The working stiff speaks for himself. If he doesn't like what he's making at company X, he's free to move to company Y that pays more. If he doesn't like what company X and Y are paying, he's free to do something else. If you don't like that bolting lug nuts on a car "only" pays 20 bucks an hour, feel free to do it somewhere else where you get paid more, if you can't find it and you still don't like it, whining isn't the answer, stepping up to bolting cylinder heads or whatever, that pays 21 bucks an hour will do it. Don't even get me started with teachers' unions...


RE: Good...
By gamerk2 on 6/20/2011 3:52:01 PM , Rating: 2
Pardon me for saying, but isn't it businesses that at the end of the day agree to a contract with teh Union. If they're willing to pay...

Secondly, high wage jobs is a requirement for a growing economy. High wages increases demand for goods, increasing sales, thus increasing demand for jobs. The rush to lower wages is one of the things killing the US economy, as consumer spending is no longer sufficient to grow us out of hard economic times [as we are currently learning]. Of course, GREAT for coorporate profits though, but not so good for the US.

Whats happening in China is not surprising: Demand for goods [both locally and overseas] is casuing a demand for workers [to make more product and thus more profit]. Their increased spending spurs more demand for goods, and thus to attract more workers, higher wages are offered. Those wages farther increase demand, thus spurring higher wages.


RE: Good...
By weskurtz0081 on 6/20/2011 4:02:21 PM , Rating: 4
Sure, the business agrees to the contract, and then they charge more for the products, in some cases the alternative is a strike.

Point 2- so, what happens when the high wages make the product the company is producing less expensive than that of the competition? Do they just keep producing the product that costs more to sell and just hope people will pay for it? It's not nearly so simple as saying "as long as wages continue to increase, everyone in America will be fine", we are not isolated, we sell products that are made in other countries.

Point 3- and then China will likely have the same problem we have, they will lose manufacturing to other countries because it's more cost effective. See how that works?


RE: Good...
By Motoman on 6/20/2011 8:02:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Pardon me for saying, but isn't it businesses that at the end of the day agree to a contract with teh Union. If they're willing to pay...


Red herring. Because of the protection that unions get from the government, once they're in your plant/location, the only way to get them out is to shut the plant/location down.

So, you either acquiesce to the union's demands, or you shut the plant down. Unions have the company over a barrel once they get in...


RE: Good...
By Fost04mach on 6/22/2011 5:54:38 PM , Rating: 2
It is the business that agrees... Because if they don't the employees go on strike, and by law, they are not allowed to fire and replace them. So as a business owner who wants to keep producing, what do you do?


RE: Good...
By FauxNews on 6/20/2011 9:15:42 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
You can find case after case where unions drove jobs out of states, Pittsburgh is a great example.


But you can see case after case where no unions are involved and the jobs disappear anyways.

Look at the IT industry. No unions. But all the jobs are going overseas anyway.

The fact is, corporations send jobs overseas whether or not there is a union.
In fact, usually it's the unions that KEEP the jobs here, not the other way around.


RE: Good...
By weskurtz0081 on 6/21/2011 10:25:12 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
But you can see case after case where no unions are involved and the jobs disappear anyways.

Look at the IT industry. No unions. But all the jobs are going overseas anyway.


You might want to take another look at my post, I also mentioned that they travel to other states that are right to work states.

quote:
The fact is, corporations send jobs overseas whether or not there is a union. In fact, usually it's the unions that KEEP the jobs here, not the other way around.


I would love to see your stats for that.


RE: Good...
By Motoman on 6/21/2011 3:38:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In fact, usually it's the unions that KEEP the jobs here, not the other way around.


Citation needed.

That is the hugest ball of crap that has ever been crapped in the history of crap.


RE: Good...
By EricMartello on 6/20/2011 2:38:15 PM , Rating: 5
Wow, the ignorance here is astounding. You think people are being paid "what they're worth" and not what government mandates and union policies force employers to pay? A factory job is not $20+ an hour work. The morons working at an assembly line perform one repetitive task over and over...in fact you actually need a sub-80 IQ to tolerate such tedious work. There is no reason they should be earning any more than a burger flipper at McDonald's...in fact, working at McD's takes more skill than working an assembly line.

There seems to be an overwhelming sentiment that people are entitled to higher pay simply because they work long hours or "work hard". No. If you perform a menial task and offer no real skill then your pay should reflect that. Assembly line workers should max out around $10/hr total. If they want additional benefits, let that be deducted from their pay.

The world does not need to cater to or support people who with no ambition and only a desire to scrape by doing the bare minimum. Unions are relics that should have been disbanded long ago, and keeping these overpaid, underperforming schmucks employed simply for the sake of "keeping jobs in america" is a failed policy that only drains our economy.


RE: Good...
By room200 on 6/20/11, Rating: -1
RE: Good...
By BansheeX on 6/20/2011 3:10:23 PM , Rating: 5
What he's trying to say, in summary, is that if pretty much anyone qualifies for a job, then it's a much larger pool of people underbidding each other in the sale of labor. Unions try to to defeat that process by collusion "psst, let's not undercut each other's prices." But you can only collude in your locality, so the company will go bankrupt or move.


RE: Good...
By room200 on 6/20/2011 3:04:59 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Wow, the ignorance here is astounding.


I though the same thing as I read your post. Problem is, you wish me to take your OPINION as fact.


RE: Good...
By guffwd13 on 6/20/2011 4:19:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Problem is, you wish me to take your OPINION as fact.


Don't bother preaching that one here, I keep trying to say argument is what makes the world go round and I constantly get voted down for it.

I actually agree with some of the things he said, but I don't agree with the idea that there's only one right answer.


RE: Good...
By room200 on 6/20/2011 4:46:07 PM , Rating: 2
Frustrating, ain't it?


RE: Good...
By MrBlastman on 6/20/2011 4:55:38 PM , Rating: 4
I argue that to pay someone what they are worth is instead not a function of their IQ, but instead a function of the percentage of work they contributed to the total net sum required to put the good to market.

i.e. Say one guy invents the product--well, his net sum contribution is great indeed, as far so as possibly 50% the net sum if he funded his research entirely himself. The remaining 50% is the actual manufacturing of said product.

Now, say the creator invented it, but, he hired some basic individual with a high school education to manufacture the product. The creator then outlines a process for the laborer to follow to a T--all he needs to do is follow the instructions. As such, when the product is indtroduced, only the single laborer is needed to make the product.

Now, without the creators instructions, the laborer would have been useless, so, we can net the creators manufacturing contribution to be 25% total net sum and the laborer to be 25% total net sum.

Once it is all finished, we have the creator's portion of the net sum at 75%, the laborer's at 25%. Thus, once the product is sold and the material and marketing costs are deducted, the creator receives 75% of the proceeds, the laborer receives 25%.

Wait, that's preposterous! The laborer only performed menial labor. That is the case, but, as production scales up they will potentially receive less--they will still receive a fair portion of the proceeds from their contribution to the overall efforts. The creator would be nothing without the laborer as the creator wouldn't have time to run the assembly-line, so, the laborer provides a very real contribution to the process.

Call them dumb, call them ants, call them peons--call them whatever, just don't discount someone because you think their role in the workplace is minscule. I would hate to work with or around you. EVERYONE I work with, large or small, is important to me. They're people, like you and I--and I don't refer to them as morons or look down upon them.

Of course, my view is idealistic--as it does not account for ownership. It is a raw scenario. The function of ownership--or, the percentage paid out in profits, would be based on the amount they relied upon the creator to come up with such good and their overall financial contribution to get the system running. In the end, the creator's net portion could be reduced to something like 40% and the laborer would also need to be reduced proportionately as without the investors, the laborer wouldn't be making squat, thus--the proportionate figure for them would be 13.3%.

I feel a system like this is far more fair than just saying--you're scum, you're useless, but hey! Make my product for me please. With a system such as this, the people working for you feel they have a real value and can clearly see how their contribution influences the overall process and product. If they work harder, their contribution makes a direct impact as more product is made and sold (assuming 100% sellthrough)--but, as you see, they would potentially share in the profits and this is a true motivator.


RE: Good...
By EricMartello on 6/20/2011 8:11:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I feel a system like this is far more fair than just saying--you're scum, you're useless, but hey! Make my product for me please. With a system such as this, the people working for you feel they have a real value and can clearly see how their contribution influences the overall process and product. If they work harder, their contribution makes a direct impact as more product is made and sold (assuming 100% sellthrough)--but, as you see, they would potentially share in the profits and this is a true motivator.


I don't have a problem with people who want to work at a factory or some other blue collar job...but I do have a problem when these same people expect that job that can literally be filled by just about anyone demanding that they get paid more, either because they worked there for a long time or simply because they feel they deserve more.

Let's say that you start doing a menial job for minimum wage. It doesn't matter if you stayed there for 10 years doing that job because the value of the work you are doing is unlikely to change, and as for supply and demand - a job that can be performed by anyone offers very little in terms of security.

People have the freedom to choose their way of earning a living in the USA and many other countries in the world, for the most part. Performance-based compensation is a good motivator for people whose contributions can have a meaningful effect on a company's bottom line, but it doesn't matter if Joe Bob screws on 10 doors per hour or 12 doors per hour at the Ford factory - there's still a low ceiling as to how much additional effort can improve a one-dimensional job. Even if Joe could work faster and slap on 14 more doors in his 8 hour shift, the entire assembly line would need to speed up for his contribution to have any effect on Ford's production rate.


RE: Good...
By Taft12 on 6/21/2011 11:54:57 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
I don't have a problem with people who want to work at a factory or some other blue collar job...


But just earlier in the thread you called them morons, said they had no ambition and that a factory worker needs to have an IQ less than 80.

You certainly think you're a lot better than these people. It sounds to me like you do have a problem with them.


RE: Good...
By EricMartello on 6/22/2011 2:31:48 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
But just earlier in the thread you called them morons, said they had no ambition and that a factory worker needs to have an IQ less than 80.


Most people are morons and I'd say your average blue collar peon qualifies as "moron". Now show me where I said I have a problem with them solely based on that fact?

quote:
You certainly think you're a lot better than these people. It sounds to me like you do have a problem with them.


I already explained what I have a problem with. Morons being overpaid for unskilled labor due to unions or government mandates...and for the morons taking advantage of that situation, I most certainly have a problem with them.


RE: Good...
By MrBlastman on 6/22/2011 10:21:26 AM , Rating: 2
It seems you know a lot about morons; what does that make you, genius?


RE: Good...
By EricMartello on 6/22/2011 10:43:47 PM , Rating: 2
I've got to wonder...are the people who fixate on my identification of morons rather than the entirety of the post feeling insecure about themselves???


RE: Good...
By 91TTZ on 6/20/2011 5:48:56 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
There seems to be an overwhelming sentiment that people are entitled to higher pay simply because they work long hours or "work hard". No. If you perform a menial task and offer no real skill then your pay should reflect that. Assembly line workers should max out around $10/hr total. If they want additional benefits, let that be deducted from their pay.


It's supply/demand. Being a jizzmopper at a porn shop isn't a very intellectual job but I bet the pay is high because it's an undesirable job with relatively few people willing to do it. The job still needs to be done so supply/demand dictates the wage. I bet nobody wants to do that for $5 an hour, but for $20 an hour you probably have enough people willing to do it.


RE: Good...
By foolsgambit11 on 6/20/2011 9:55:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
in fact you actually need a sub-80 IQ to tolerate such tedious work.

If that's true, then only about 10% of the population can really do the work - meaning that supply and demand would indeed push up the wages for those jobs, just as much as they push up the wages for jobs that require an above-120 IQ. Boom! Logic bomb dropped on your head!


RE: Good...
By Zoomer on 6/21/2011 10:08:43 AM , Rating: 2
Not quite, other people can do the work too. It doesn't quite work the other way around though.


RE: Good...
By Raiders12 on 6/21/2011 12:29:34 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you! While we want everyone to afford the same luxuries as their neighbors, it's just not that easy. America is a diverse economy or different skills and different job types. People working assembly lines getting $20-30/hr and all the bells and whistles of benefits due to Unions is what killed this countries' industry. It didn't work before, and it won't work again. KNOW YOUR WORTH. If you work a GM assembly line putting in front seats all day, do you deserve to be paid what a mechanical engineer makes? No. Thats the way it crumbles. People will yell and scream that "you need to get off your high horse, you don't know what you're talking about!" Well the article just said avg factory wages here are $22/hr. GM average line worker's wages was somewhere near $33/hr when I looked it up last. I'm just starting out as an engineer, after busting my @$$ for 4 yrs in schooling, just in college, and am barely earning $20/hr. That is a job and skill this country NEEDS, science.


RE: Good...
By MrBlastman on 6/21/2011 12:43:20 PM , Rating: 2
I just thought I'd point out--historically speaking, the field of science was never sought after for accumulation of wealth. It was sought after for furthing the knowledge of mankind. If science ended up bringing an individual wealth, great; however, if not monetary wealth, if science brought knowledge that could change the world--that was worth far more.

You don't become a scientist to be super-wealthy. If you do, then you're in it for all the wrong reasons. Money clouds judgement. A true scientists mind needs to be pure to the method first and foremost.

With that said--you are absolutely right... America needs science more than ever before. It is bright minds and our historical lust for creation of new ideas and technology that helped make us great... along with our industrial and manufacturing prowess.


RE: Good...
By HrilL on 6/20/2011 3:51:48 PM , Rating: 2
Heh I have a skilled job and don't even make that much. I'm a network administrator...


RE: Good...
By cjohnson2136 on 6/20/2011 4:57:35 PM , Rating: 4
Im an Application Developer and I make about what these assembly line workers are making. I'm sorry but above 20/hour for a factory job now a days is too much with how we have machines doing a lot of it for us.


RE: Good...
By 91TTZ on 6/21/2011 10:25:18 AM , Rating: 2
The problem is that you, as an employee, do not get to decide what someone in your position is worth. It's supply/demand. The employer wants to pay employees the least amount possible. If they can easily find someone in your position that can do your job and is willing to work for less, they're going to go with that person.

In the case of factory workers, they make that much for a reason. There's probably not a lot of people that want to do menial work like that, so it raises the price a bit. Some tasks aren't able to be done by machines, so workers are needed. But most simple factory jobs have been replaced by machines, so the ones that are left require more skill than you might think.


RE: Good...
By RedemptionAD on 6/20/2011 11:46:41 AM , Rating: 3
With automation and minor education(6 month or less training time) we should be able to beat costs in China and increase productivity and employ more workers here, like the assembly line did in the early 1900's. Which would mean that we can begin to export more and begin to balance our trade with the rest of the world.

Manufacturing jobs that are $30/hr are a pipe dream that should never have happened. Engineer wages for a skill set of a junior high student are highly unrealistic. If you want to make a huge amount of money without much of an education, get in sales, be extraordinarily lucky, or both.


RE: Good...
By 91TTZ on 6/20/2011 11:50:42 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think that the average factory worker ever made $30 an hour. That was the total cost of the employee to the employer which factored in healthcare and pension benefits.


RE: Good...
By Motoman on 6/20/2011 12:12:53 PM , Rating: 3
Let's be blunt: typical factory work is essentially unskilled, and is not a "career" - it categorically should not provide wages that support a family and give benefits.

Assembling part A to part B on a factory line is minimum-wage work. It should be done by students working their way through college - so that they can gain valuable skills and land a job that does provide wages that support a family and give benefits.


RE: Good...
By Murst on 6/20/2011 12:34:07 PM , Rating: 3
The work may be unskilled, but I'm not sure how most factory jobs can be done while going to college. I went to college, and getting even a b.s. in engineering was pretty much a full time thing.

I do have family who work in a factory, and there's no way I could have done that while going to college. They work a lot of hours (good luck trying to find a factory job that expects you to come in for 2 hours a day).

Also, although the work is unskilled, it does take a lot of effort to actually perform. Its not something that most people could do while doing another thing such as obtaining a college degree.


RE: Good...
By quiksilvr on 6/20/2011 4:00:02 PM , Rating: 2
If you only have to pay them ~$8 an hour, I guarantee you they will take you even if it was just one hour a day.


RE: Good...
By Bad-Karma on 6/21/2011 3:49:34 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
The work may be unskilled, but I'm not sure how most factory jobs can be done while going to college. I went to college, and getting even a b.s. in engineering was pretty much a full time thing.


I have to agree with you, Engineering can be some of the most challenging and time consuming courses out there.

But it's a person's level of commitment and focus toward getting the degree. I managed to tough it out and acquired a BS in CS (minored in materials Eng) and then my Masters switched over to CE, all while being constantly deployed and stationed all over the globe (active Duty USAF since 95). Much of it was spent on the battlefield.

It took me a year or so longer to complete each degree thanks to all the hastily dropped classes but thankfully most could be can be continued through correspondence. I did what I had to do. Which usually meant long hours, little sleep, and limited social life, but I got it done. It has put me and my family in a much more comfortable lifestyle now and we are getting to reap some of the reward for toughing out those early years.

I've had friends and acquaintances who do nothing but sit and play video games in their spare time. I hate it when they show me their stats page for XYZ game and I see that they have so much time played that they could of easily obtained one or two degrees in the same time period. Some of these people are incredibly smart but they get left behind simply because they continually fail to invest in they're own future.

When I hear someone bitch and moan about having to work long hours, menial jobs, low wages, etc.. I usually stop and ask them about how much effort they've put into their education and job skill development. They seldom answer that they couldn't get the money for tuition, it's usually "I just don't have the time."

The ant & the grasshopper fable always comes to mind.


RE: Good...
By Motoman on 6/21/2011 3:40:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The work may be unskilled, but I'm not sure how most factory jobs can be done while going to college. I went to college, and getting even a b.s. in engineering was pretty much a full time thing.


It's called working part time. I was a motorcycle mechanic while going to college - and a good one too. Skilled labor...not some moron on a production line assembling part A to part B with a pretorqued air wrench. My employer worked with me to set up hours that worked with my school schedule, and I worked as much as I could handle.


RE: Good...
By Iaiken on 6/20/2011 12:36:19 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Let's be blunt: typical factory work is essentially unskilled, and is not a "career" - it categorically should not provide wages that support a family and give benefits.

Assembling part A to part B on a factory line is minimum-wage work. It should be done by students working their way through college - so that they can gain valuable skills and land a job that does provide wages that support a family and give benefits.


Says who? You're making a critical error in thinking that there is even a possibility that 200 million such jobs will exist for them to move in to after college.

I would argue that the ONLY jobs that matter in a consumer market like the US, are those that create actual goods. I would also argue that our quest to keep goods cheap for the masses is the very thing that has helped the concentration of wealth in America to march steadily forward.

More and more I am starting to realize just how little our six-figure household income really is once investments and planning for retirement is involved. People like me are quickly becoming the new middle class as money is siphoned off from the bottom to the top. Trickle down my @$$...


RE: Good...
By MrTeal on 6/20/2011 12:59:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Says who? You're making a critical error in thinking that there is even a possibility that 200 million such jobs will exist for them to move in to after college.


There might not be now, but if the supply is there the market will eventually react to use those new resources. It's not much different than the move in the US 150 years ago from having 80% of the workforce employed in agriculture to having only a few percent employed today. That allowed more people to be moved into manufacturing jobs, and allowed the industrial base to expand to the point where most every family can own a car and have a place to live.

It might not be an easy transition, but automating and outsourcing manufacturing will allow more people to be employed in high tech fields and keep up our rate of technological advancement.


RE: Good...
By 91TTZ on 6/20/2011 2:19:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It might not be an easy transition, but automating and outsourcing manufacturing will allow more people to be employed in high tech fields and keep up our rate of technological advancement.


The problem is that it's more profitable and probably easier to outsource engineering jobs than it is to outsource a factory job. You can send the requirements to an engineering firm in India or China and they'll send you the finished results with a very low initial investment on your part.

Between India and China, they have a workforce of more than 2 billion people. And while those people have historically been poor, they're not stupid. If even a small percentage of their people go to school for engineering, they can easily saturate the market, driving prices down.


RE: Good...
By Jalek on 6/20/2011 12:51:20 PM , Rating: 2
I worked in a bindery for a few months, packing catalogs, annual reports, and car brochures. It was a union shop, but nobody would work for union scale, they hired at the 3 year experience wage and people hit the union caps after six months. That level was less than the current federal minimum wage. The shop ran 7 12 hour shifts per week with the only days off those scheduled like vacation, unpaid of course. What college kid will work 84 hours a week at a job that leaves you unable to even grasp a pen in the off hours?

If everyone's college educated, who's buying their services? Many Asian countries have higher numbers of college-educated people but they're still poorer. Without the middle class, there's no domestic demand, the wealthy 10% can only consume so much.

The guy with the BSEE working at the convenience store gained little but debt from college.


RE: Good...
By room200 on 6/20/2011 1:35:13 PM , Rating: 2
The bottome line here is that many with a better life simply don't value other people. "However they got where they are is there own doin, so screw em."


RE: Good...
By Motoman on 6/21/2011 3:42:36 PM , Rating: 2
The market moves and corrects itself - as this article shows. The baseline gets better, as wages go up according to demand. The middle class will grow, and as the middle class grows, the rest of the economy grows with it. Those college educated people may find themselves working in manual labor at the moment, but they are part and parcel of the movement to a better economy that is clearly on the way - and bringing better jobs for them to snatch up.


RE: Good...
By room200 on 6/20/2011 1:32:59 PM , Rating: 2
That can be said by anyone talking about someone's job they don't value. I'm sure the Amish couldn't give a crap about engineers.


RE: Good...
By 91TTZ on 6/20/2011 2:08:36 PM , Rating: 2
You seem to have a distorted view of what "work" is. Work is just something that needs to be done. If it can be done faster/better/cheaper by machines, it would be.

It's not something that I'd like to do, but they are doing a task that needs to be done. And pay follows a supply/demand relationship. If you have an overabundance of engineers and a shortage of trashmen, don't be surprised to see trashmen demanding a higher salary.


RE: Good...
By RedemptionAD on 6/20/2011 12:38:14 PM , Rating: 2
Union carpenter $27/hr. UAW $27/hr. Both $50+ with benfits, pensions, etc.


RE: Good...
By IcePickFreak on 6/20/2011 2:32:05 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
If you want to make a huge amount of money without much of an education, get in sales, be extraordinarily lucky, or both.

So everyone who does actual work is overpaid, but sales guys aren't? LOL


RE: Good...
By guffwd13 on 6/20/2011 12:33:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
learn a skill that's worth paying you a non-minimum wage for.


in most instances i would agree with this sentiment. but the problem is, and its getting worse, is that labor - even cheap labor - is a big ticket item, which is of course why we're farming it all out to china, india etc. all that money, even if less than it would be here, is permanently removed from our economy... hence the trade deficit.

until we bring manufacturing back home, even if every person who can work in this country has a "skilled" job, we'd still be losing money - not making it. that whole concept is impossible anyway.

on the other hand, even when those labor jobs come back, those people should expect a job that pays what its worth to society. you want more money? go find yourself some skills. society doesn't owe anyone any well-paying job just because everyone else has one.


RE: Good...
By Jalek on 6/20/2011 1:19:54 PM , Rating: 3
West Africa was the next tech target for labor, if HP is to be considered a leader. They've had mixed results shutting down US R&D labs but tech support can be done by anyone that can pretend to speak English.


RE: Good...
By Breakfast Susej on 6/20/2011 3:25:14 PM , Rating: 1
I was just about to make a comment that read, In other news cheap labor in Africa is soon to be off to a roaring start.

What will happen though when the world runs out of dirt poor populations to exploit for cheap labor? I wonder.


RE: Good...
By TSS on 6/21/2011 4:39:15 AM , Rating: 2
Somebody will always be poor, because without the poor there wouldn't be any rich people.

When Africa becomes too expensive labor will move to the USA. How can you possibly be "rich" when it costs you 19% of federal revenue to pay off *interest* the the national debt? As in your wasting nearly 20% of your income every year to keep the pile of debt you already have, at INSANELY low interest rates. Negative rates even on inflation protected treasuries.

According to Wikipedia for the US fiscal 2010, mandatory spending was $2.173 trillion. According to usdebtclock.org, income revenue for 2011 will be $2.193 trillion.

You can't even cut spending to get out of this mess anymore, even if the politicians wanted to. The only awnser is hyperinflation, a la Zimbabwe. Annualized inflation has already jumped 2% in 4 months. It's not hyper inflation, no, but the only way to combat normal inflation is rising interest rates, and guess what that does to the interest paid on the national debt.


RE: Good...
By Zoomer on 6/21/2011 10:12:58 AM , Rating: 2
Not true. People put the mandatory label on things. Similarly, that label can be removed.


RE: Good...
By Bad-Karma on 6/21/2011 4:06:11 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure we'll see production moving to Africa, at least not in our lifetimes. A companies desire for cheap labor on a sustainable basis would have to be tempered with Africa's horrible political instability. Most African nations are constantly teetering on collapse and have constant social upheavals. Just look at how many fly-by-night dictatorships appear on the scene only to displaced by the next one a decade down the line.

To my recollection Da beers is one of only a few companies that has been able to endure in Africa. Even then they've nearly lost their mining rights many times over the years.


RE: Good...
By Ringold on 6/20/2011 2:14:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
until we bring manufacturing back home


Siemens reported in the Economist last week that it's having significant problems finding skilled labor in engineering, manufacturing, etc., and is having to resort to expensive education and training programs itself, including on the job apprenticeships. There's over 200k job openings available in the manufacturing sector in the United States, a number thats been growing even as unemployment has increased. Siemens, Manpower and others reported that the average manufacturing job now involves a variety of high-tech equipment.

So, manufacturing is already here, it's just that we Americans got fat and lazy, started letting our kids get useless college degrees in liberal-arts degrees, and we stopped updating our skills. People also forget that the US is still a massive manufacturing power, we simply have replaced humans with robots.

Bottom line: We could ask manufacturers to return to the US, but once they got here, if the current markets any indication they wouldn't be able to fill anything but the lowest skilled of jobs. If this doesn't also serve as a dual indictment of our failed worth-ethic as a nation in terms of our young and of our education system I don't know what does.


RE: Good...
By guffwd13 on 6/20/2011 4:04:20 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
If this doesn't also serve as a dual indictment of our failed worth-ethic as a nation in terms of our young and of our education system I don't know what does.


I'll have to disagree with your generalization of the young as a whole, the emerging college graduates have the same if not more engrained "work, work, work" ethic more so than previous generations. Our (which I say because I am in my 20s) generation's parents both worked full time and often overtime and while it has been recognized that our generation has been taught to seek out a profession that we enjoy, we also have been exposed to nothing but work all-the-time mentality. If you're referring to the social media and computer/console game addicted members of our generation, I'd say that's more a failing of parents of the previous to instill that work ethic in their kids and used their kids lack of needing to work as bragging rights along the lines of "look at how well I'm doing, my kids don't even have to work".

While that's a gross generalization in itself, my point is I don't think the emerging workforce generation is any more lazy than previous ones.

I do, however, agree with you that the education system in this country is getting worse, especially relative to other countries, and is at least in part due to the "no child left behind" policy. Also, in more well-to-do areas, it has been observed that too many parents are putting their kids in a "needs special help" system in the public schools to get more one-on-one attention even though those kids would previously have been thrown in with the rest.

The real problem lies in the overall American mentality that everyone deserves something and "its ok, honey, not winning/doing well is ok." Parents need to be more strict with their children and push them for higher standards. Positive reinforcement only does not work.


RE: Good...
By room200 on 6/20/2011 2:55:14 PM , Rating: 2
Well, being a garbage man doesn't take much skill, but I don't know many people who want to do it, and your neighborhood would be crap without it.


RE: Good...
By room200 on 6/20/2011 1:27:21 PM , Rating: 1
And that high-paying job YOU got trained for can be easily outsourced to another country for 1/4 of what you make. No matter the job. Talk about an inflated sense of self-worth.


RE: Good...
By Samus on 6/20/2011 2:34:06 PM , Rating: 2
While this is great news for our unemployment problem, keep in mind there is certainly some manufacturing we don't want back, and after outsourcing and long absence, the EPA won't even allow anymore, such as lead-based paints (which still serve a purpose for a variety of non-consumer goods) and asbestos, which is still widely used in China but we haven't mined since 2002. Asbestos can be safety deployed for consumer use, and is a great inexpensive material, but shoddy installations and oversensationalized media gave it a very bad reputation in the 80's and 90's.

It's also worth mentioning rare-earth metal mining. There's more that economics involved with the reasoning behind closing our rare-earth mines in the USA. Yes, China was initially doing it cheaper, but it is extremely dangerous (as much so as coal mining) and we don't have much of it...in the same sense we don't have much oil...which is all bullshit, but politically, on a global scale, its better for us to have resources in the future than our "neighbors."


RE: Good...
By msheredy on 6/20/2011 5:33:52 PM , Rating: 2
Actually I'm an employed graphic designer who just wants my country to get back on it's feet. When was that such a bad idea?


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