The transformation of the United States manufacturing industries in the late 20th century and its impact on the manufacturing worker
In reaction to various international and domestic social-economic events, the productive operations of U.S. manufacturers have experienced a transformation during the time period of 1945 to 1999. During this transformation, U.S. manufacturers have utilized two primary strategies to counter the growing competition from foreign manufacturers. Consequentially, the strategies implemented by U.S. manufactures have impacted the amount of quality jobs held by manufacturing workers. A historical research design utilizing both historiography and time series analyses is used to explain the how various social-economic events have influenced the transformation of U.S. manufacturers and how the two strategies used by U.S. manufacturers during their transformation has led to a decline in the amount of quality jobs held by manufacturing workers. In the historiography, existing texts with supporting data are utilized to delineate the occurrence of these social-economic events over time period of 1945 to 1999 and then, show how these events have impacted the competitive status of U.S. manufacturers. The timeline of this analysis has been dimensioned into two types of social-economic events, international and U.S. domestic. Findings from the historiography characterize the U.S. manufacturing industries' transformation as the following: (a) the transformation is from a primarily U.S. owned and operated production process to a multinational process; (b) while U.S. manufacturers were deindustrializing, many foreign investors were also industrializing the U.S. economy; and (c) U.S. manufacturers in late 1990s were more competitive than their counterparts in the early 1970s. The time series analysis uses secondary data to assess how the two competitive strategies utilized by U.S. manufacturers, deindustrialization and operational restructuring, have impacted the amount of quality jobs held by U.S. manufacturing workers. The study period for the time series analysis is from year 1970 to year 1999. Findings from this analysis illustrate how these strategies have produced both favorable and unfavorable consequences for U.S. manufacturing workers. Favorably, U.S. manufacturing workers during the 1990s were predominantly more educated and productive than their counterparts in the 1970s. The unfavorable findings suggest that not only were there less jobs for manufacturing workers in the late 1990s, compared to the 1970s, but also they received lower real wages and benefits.