A belief by a national manufacturing leader that more things can be made in the U.S. would be good news for Arkansas’ manufacturing sector.
Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) President Scott Paul believes that even in the age of automation and globalization, “millions more Americans can be working in manufacturing over the next decade.”
Paul said in a recent statement commenting on the 1,000-job loss announced this past Manufacturing Day (Oct. 6) that “it’s worth taking a hard look at what we need to do to create more good-paying factory jobs, including finally investing in our infrastructure, doing more to train workers, acting on open imports investigations, and enforcing our trade laws.”
Paul specifically cited the Trump administration’s delayed Section 232 review of steel imports, which have surged 21% in recent months as something that needs to be “wrapped up” soon.
Paul said the country has a strong energy advantage and a “robust” consumer market as well as an entrepreneurial culture.
“While more robots will be found on factory floors, the industry is already highly automated. With new products, more market share, and sharpened skills, we can create more factory jobs. With the right mindsets in the public and private sectors, we can guarantee that the next generation of really amazing things can be made right here,” Paul said.
Manufacturing jobs in Arkansas were an estimated 158,100 in August, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The sector that once was the top job sector in the state fell below 160,000 jobs in May 2011 and has struggled since to regain momentum. The sector posted a record 247,300 jobs in February 1995, and fell below 200,000 in September 2006.
Arkansas’ Trade Transportation & Utilities, Government and Education & Health Services sectors have more jobs than the manufacturing sector.