Apple, America and a Squeezed Middle Class – NYTimes.com

21 Jan

Why have high-tech manufacturing jobs left the US and will they ever come back? The NYTimes has a fascinating article using Apple’s iPhone as a central case study. We aren’t going to get those jobs back. Maybe we need to rethink how we life, top to bottom.

Another critical advantage for Apple was that China provided engineers at a scale the United States could not match. Apple’s executives had estimated that about 8,700 industrial engineers were needed to oversee and guide the 200,000 assembly-line workers eventually involved in manufacturing iPhones. The company’s analysts had forecast it would take as long as nine months to find that many qualified engineers in the United States.

In China, it took 15 days.

Companies like Apple “say the challenge in setting up U.S. plants is finding a technical work force,” said Martin Schmidt, associate provost at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In particular, companies say they need engineers with more than high school, but not necessarily a bachelor’s degree. Americans at that skill level are hard to find, executives contend. “They’re good jobs, but the country doesn’t have enough to feed the demand,” Mr. Schmidt said.

via Apple, America and a Squeezed Middle Class – NYTimes.com.

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