…You have given him dominion over the good works of your hands…(Psalm 8:6)
The job numbers were announced this week. In August 2013, 169,000 total jobs were added and unemployment fell to 7.3%. Specific to manufacturing, the Institute for Supply Management reported the fastest factory expansion index rate since June 2011. It sounded like positive news, until I saw this graph, illustrating that 6 million manufacturing jobs were lost in the United States between 2000 and 2009:


 There is a lot of talk of a resurgence in manufacturing, but is it realistic to think that the US can return to pre-2000 employment numbers in industrial manufacturing?
 As I pondered about the return of manufacturing jobs, the first thought that came to mind: with man, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible. I thought of the story of Peter and his efforts to catch fish, resulting in literally nothing for hours. But with one touch, suddenly a divine intervention of time, place, and a mass of fish, allowed Peter to exercise his faith and obedience, by putting down his net, and receiving his reward for his service. If God performed that miracle for fishermen, He can do the same for manufacturing.
I live in the Energy Capital of the world. Pre-2000, one of primary deterrents of operating an industrial manufacturing factory was energy costs. Fast forward to 2012, and this region has started gear up its construction efforts to produce more shale gas, natural, gas, or heavy oil into usable products. The petrochemical industry in this area is booming and I can see the positive trends falling over into other areas of manufacturing: steelmakers, pipe and tube manufacturers, concrete accessories, and glass manufacturers. In fact, a recent IHS study confirms that manufacturing related to producing unconventional oil and gas will support over 500k jobs (or 4.2% of all manufacturing jobs) by 2025. To read the entire study, visit http://www.ihs.com/info/ecc/a/americas-new-energy-future-report-vol-3.aspx.
With the 500k jobs forecasted to produce oil and natural gas, there is still the matter of where will the remaining 5.5 million job derive. To be honest, many jobs will not come back. A significant portion of the jobs losses in the United States were due to productivity improvements in manufacturing. Larger companies who have invested in automation and robots are able to do more with less, freeing up resources to focus on more value-added activities like research and development. The goal is to innovate the next generation of industrial goods and services needed by the global economy. On the other hand, this effort to innovate is also in process locally, among smaller companies and communities.
I began this post questioning whether or not the United States could ever return to pre-2000 employment numbers in industrial manufacturing. Six million jobs is a large gap to close. As believers, we have to place our faith in The One who has dominion over the good works of our hands. We have to invest our efforts, time, and talent until we are commanded to cast down our nets to receive work that He has purposed for us to do. Feel free to comment about your thoughts on the return of manufacturing jobs, or, send me an email at latanyua.robinson@gmail.com. If you like this post and want to catch up on some of my previous discussions, please visit the full Purposed Work blog at http://ltr-latrobe-mfg.blogspot.com/.

…You have given him dominion over the good works of your hands…(Psalm 8:6)
The job numbers were announced this week. In August 2013, 169,000 total jobs were added and unemployment fell to 7.3%. Specific to manufacturing, the Institute for Supply Management reported the fastest factory expansion index rate since June 2011. It sounded like positive news, until I saw this graph, illustrating that 6 million manufacturing jobs were lost in the United States between 2000 and 2009:


 There is a lot of talk of a resurgence in manufacturing, but is it realistic to think that the US can return to pre-2000 employment numbers in industrial manufacturing?
 As I pondered about the return of manufacturing jobs, the first thought that came to mind: with man, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible. I thought of the story of Peter and his efforts to catch fish, resulting in literally nothing for hours. But with one touch, suddenly a divine intervention of time, place, and a mass of fish, allowed Peter to exercise his faith and obedience, by putting down his net, and receiving his reward for his service. If God performed that miracle for fishermen, He can do the same for manufacturing.
I live in the Energy Capital of the world. Pre-2000, one of primary deterrents of operating an industrial manufacturing factory was energy costs. Fast forward to 2012, and this region has started gear up its construction efforts to produce more shale gas, natural, gas, or heavy oil into usable products. The petrochemical industry in this area is booming and I can see the positive trends falling over into other areas of manufacturing: steelmakers, pipe and tube manufacturers, concrete accessories, and glass manufacturers. In fact, a recent IHS study confirms that manufacturing related to producing unconventional oil and gas will support over 500k jobs (or 4.2% of all manufacturing jobs) by 2025. To read the entire study, visit http://www.ihs.com/info/ecc/a/americas-new-energy-future-report-vol-3.aspx.
With the 500k jobs forecasted to produce oil and natural gas, there is still the matter of where will the remaining 5.5 million job derive. To be honest, many jobs will not come back. A significant portion of the jobs losses in the United States were due to productivity improvements in manufacturing. Larger companies who have invested in automation and robots are able to do more with less, freeing up resources to focus on more value-added activities like research and development. The goal is to innovate the next generation of industrial goods and services needed by the global economy. On the other hand, this effort to innovate is also in process locally, among smaller companies and communities.
I began this post questioning whether or not the United States could ever return to pre-2000 employment numbers in industrial manufacturing. Six million jobs is a large gap to close. As believers, we have to place our faith in The One who has dominion over the good works of our hands. We have to invest our efforts, time, and talent until we are commanded to cast down our nets to receive work that He has purposed for us to do. Feel free to comment about your thoughts on the return of manufacturing jobs, or, send me an email at latanyua.robinson@gmail.com. If you like this post and want to catch up on some of my previous discussions, please visit the full Purposed Work blog at http://ltr-latrobe-mfg.blogspot.com/.