Manufacturing Jobs: Humans vs Robots

Teresa Rossi

In the past century, an increasing number of people are losing manufacturing jobs because robots are gradually replacing humans in factories. Since 2000, the United States has lost five million manufacturing jobs. According to James Sherk, a labor economics researcher at the Heritage Foundation, this is because “robots are a lot more affordable than human employees”.


Several Republican candidates, such as Donald Trump, have claimed to help reintroduce lost factory jobs. However, it seems that several logistical issues inhibiting his plan have been oversimplified or ignored. In June 2015, during Trump’s campaign speech, he promised to bring back manufacturing jobs from other countries to the United States, saying that American workers are “unable to get jobs, because there are no jobs, because China has our jobs and Mexico has our jobs”. It seems that Trump has not clearly stated the real problem and instead, has blamed these issues on other countries. Furthermore, he has not mentioned the fact that his own line of neckties have been made in China. In contrast, Bernie Sanders, a Democrat, believes that the true reason for the decline of manufacturing jobs is due to the international trade deals made by Pacific Rim countries, criticizing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement that has been established between twelve countries.


A few solutions have been proposed, in hopes of diminishing the continuous loss of manufacturing jobs. In Delaware, high school students have been offered the opportunity to participate in programs under Delaware Tech to help teach students useful skills for modern manufacturing jobs. In addition, academic hubs, in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, have provided a place where companies and research institutions can collaborate with smaller start-up companies and job seekers.


Although the decline of manufacturing jobs in the United States is clearly an issue, not enough effort has been put into finding a reasonable solution for this issue. While an increase in manufacturing jobs would make a significant change in the economy, we must also find other alternatives to increase jobs and various career opportunities for the future generation.