The rise of China and the future of US manufacturing
Daron Acemoglu, David Autor, David Dorn, Gordon H. Hanson, Brendan Price 28 September 2014
Manufacturing in the US has rebounded after the Great Recession, but employment levels have not recovered from their steep decline in the decade before the recession. This column examines to what extent the sector’s fall is a result of the rise of China. The authors estimate direct effects of import competition from China, as well as labour market and buyer-seller indirect effects that operate at the local level. China’s impact has been strong, and employment in US manufacturing is unlikely to recover.
The end of the Great Recession has rekindled optimism about the future of US manufacturing. In the second quarter of 2010 the number of US workers employed in manufacturing registered positive growth – its first increase since 2006 – and subsequently recorded ten consecutive quarters of job gains, the longest expansion since the 1970s.
manufacturing, US, China, value added
Outsourcing and the shift from manufacturing to services
Giuseppe Berlingieri 25 September 2014
Advanced nations are shedding manufacturing jobs and gaining service jobs – a trend that has been in place for decades. Some of the shift, however, is a reclassification effect. Corporate outsourcing of tasks like marketing means workers doing the same task as before now show up as working for a firm in the service sector. Using US data from the past 60 years, this column shows that the evolution of the input-output structure – which is mostly due to professional and business services outsourcing – accounts for 36% of the increase in services and 25% of the fall in manufacturing.
How much of the structural transformation of modern economies from manufacturing to services is a shift in organisational boundaries, in which work that was previously done within manufacturing firms is now outsourced to specialised service providers? This column looks at changes in the US economy over the past 60 years, and shows that the evolution of the input-output structure – which is mostly due to professional and business services outsourcing – accounts for 36% of the increase in services and 25% of the fall in manufacturing.
Global economy Labour markets
outsourcing, manufacturing, services, marketing, US, professional and business services
More evidence for technology’s role in the clean-up of manufacturing
Arik Levinson 24 September 2014
Pollution emitted by manufacturers has been falling in Europe and the US. A concern with this clean-up is that developed countries have been offshoring the production of pollution-intensive parts and products. This column presents evidence refuting this concern. Using a new approach, the author calculates that almost all of the clean-up in US manufacturing can be explained by technological changes.
Pollution emitted by manufacturers has been falling for decades in Europe and the US, while the real value of manufacturing output has been growing (Brunel 2014). What accounts for this clean-up? A worrisome explanation is that rich countries have been offshoring the pollution-intensive, or ‘dirty’, parts of their manufacturing sectors, producing the clean goods and doing final assembly at home while importing the dirty goods and resource-intensive intermediate inputs. That’s worrisome for two reasons.
manufacturing, pollution, clean-up, offshoring
Which factors shape the relationship between manufacturing and government wages?
Benedicta Marzinotto, Alessandro Turrini 05 September 2014
The link between public- and private-sector compensation has important implications for the labour market and price competitiveness. This column reports that manufacturing and government wages co-move both in the long and short run, but that the long-run co-movement is much stronger where the government is an important employer. This co-movement tends to break down during fiscal consolidation periods, except in large-government countries. Moreover, manufacturing wages exhibit a stronger co-movement with productivity in countries where government wages are set via collective bargaining.
During the crisis, numerous Eurozone countries have introduced public wage freezes or cuts as part of an attempt to contain rising fiscal deficits and debts. Some of these countries also had to rebalance their economies, and improve price competitiveness. The relevant question is therefore whether government wages, whilst relevant for fiscal outcomes, may also exert some impact on private-sector labour costs and price competitiveness.
wages, government, public-sector pay, collective bargaining, manufacturing, Public sector, private sector, competitiveness
The US manufacturing recovery: Uptick or renaissance?
Oya Celasun, Gabriel Di Bella, Tim Mahedy, Chris Papageorgiou 24 February 2014
The strong rebound of manufacturing production following the Great Recession of 2008–09 has generated renewed interest in the sector among analysts and policymakers. This column argues that a detailed look at the data suggests that claims of a US manufacturing renaissance are unwarranted. Yet, there remain factors that could support a greater contribution from the manufacturing sector to overall US growth in the years ahead.
Amid increasing anecdotes of a ‘renaissance’ in US manufacturing, many commentators have argued that the sector may contribute more significantly to domestic GDP and global industrial output in future (e.g. Financial Times 2012, New York Times 2012, McKinsey Global Institute 2012, Citi Research 2013).
US, growth, manufacturing, Great Recession
Trade and innovation in services
Leonardo Iacovone, Aaditya Mattoo, Andrés Zahler 15 September 2013
Service exports and innovation may be a source of dynamic growth for countries in the middle-income trap. This column presents new research showing some support for this optimistic view. That said, it’s clear that researchers need to improve their understanding of how firms in the services sector innovate and increase productivity, and whether better-tailored policies can promote trade and innovation in services.
The literature on innovation and international trade has, until recently, focused almost exclusively on the manufacturing sector. This is not surprising because the bulk of international trade has been in manufactured products and innovation has traditionally been associated with new or improved physical products. The services sector was ignored because it was seen as largely untouched by both trade and innovation.
Development Productivity and Innovation
Making a future for manufacturing in advanced economies
Richard Dobbs 08 February 2013
Surprisingly, manufacturing in some advanced economies is experiencing something of a renaissance. This column argues that the renaissance will unfold in new, unexpected ways. Manufacturing value added will continue to rise, but the impact on jobs will be muted – particularly for the unskilled. A range of innovations has opened a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build new platforms, but better skills and new strategies will be needed.
After years of despair about the decline of manufacturing, policymakers in advanced economies now are talking about a rosier future. Wages have risen quickly in coastal China and other offshore locations, and have stagnated or fallen in advanced economies. Severe weather events, such as the Japanese tsunami and Bangkok floods, have exposed the fragility of global supply chains. And news that some US companies will build computers and washing machines once again in North America is offered as proof that the tide has turned (Henion and Schoenherr 2012).
Industrial organisation Productivity and Innovation
manufacturing, value added
Spatial disparities in India: Have Mumbai and Chennai become too congested?
Klaus Desmet, Ejaz Ghani, Stephen D O'Connell, Esteban Rossi-Hansberg 13 June 2012
Will India’s rapid growth in the services sector lead to overcrowding of its cities? This column compares India’s experience to that of other countries.
In the last two decades the Indian economy has been growing at unprecedented rates, but that development has led to widening spatial disparities. While some cities such as Hyderabad have become major high-tech hubs with world-class companies and real estate developments reminiscent of Silicon Valley, many other places remain mired in poverty and stagnation.
Development Industrial organisation Productivity and Innovation
India, manufacturing, services, Mumbai, Chennai
Are China and India converging?
Ejaz Ghani 23 January 2012
Mention China and India to economists and their first thought will be rapid growth. Their second thought might be how differently the two economies are achieving this: China through manufacturing, India through services. This column asks whether that stereotype may be changing.
Both China and India have attracted global attention for rapid growth, but their growth patterns are very different (Rajan 2006, Pack 2008, Bosworth and Maertens 2010). China took the conventional route of manufacturing-led growth and is recognised as a global leader in manufactured exports. India followed the unconventional route of service-led growth and has acquired a global reputation for service exports. Are their growth patterns converging? Is China catching up in services? Is India catching up in manufacturing? Or has hysteresis kept their growth patterns different?
Development International trade
China, India, manufacturing, services
Has production become more fragmented? International vs domestic perspectives
Thibault Fally 10 January 2012
As the oft-cited iPhone example illustrates, production has become increasingly fragmented across countries. This column presents recent research, however, suggesting that this trend may be reversing for manufacturing plants in the US. It shows that intermediate goods account for a decreasing fraction of output value, while industries that are closer to the final consumer contribute to an increasing share of GDP.
Production seems more complex and fragmented today than ever before. For instance, airplanes are made of zillions of parts involving many suppliers from various countries (see eg www.newairplane.com). It has also become difficult to keep track of the production of relatively more simple goods such as the Barbie doll (Feenstra 1998) or the iPhone (see Xing 2011 on this site).
US, manufacturing, iPhone