- I'm sorry I missed this piece from the NYT back in June: Despite Recession, High Demand for Skilled Labor. They profiled the welder pictured here:
real TIG gloves with your fancy new job? Anyway, looks like multi-pass TIG on some serious pipe, maybe Schedule 80?
- "Is there anything left for America to manufacture?" asks this Grist article, "given that we have clearly lost our manufacturing mojo to places like Japan for innovation (compare Toyota’s Prius to GM’s Hummer) and China for cost (what product in Walmart is not made in China?)?"
The answer, asserts the author, is to manufacture cleantech. He cites a couple examples of cleantech conversions--companies that refocused their efforts from making, say, boats, to, say, portable renewable powerplants.
- Matthew Yglesias responds to the Grist piece by pointing out: "[T]he image of an ailing US manufacturing sector stuck in long-term decline is just wrong. America’s industrial output has been on a steadily upward trajectory since 1970, just like it was before 1970"
Innovation > price competition. Other countries can beat the US on price any day of the week, and that's not changing anytime soon, especially with health care remaining a drain on labor costs. Success for US businesses isn't about making more things; it's about making things better, and making better things, i.e. cleantech.
See also Yes, the U.S. Does Still Manufacture Things via the SF Chronicle
- Miller, whom you know for their bright blue welding machines, has an Industrial Welding blog. The comments are more interesting than the posts themselves. There's dozens of stories from the front lines of the welding shortage (or lack thereof, depending on whom you ask). This helped solidify in my mind what might be the best explanation for the wildly diverse experiences with the availability of welding jobs: The welding shortage is a national phenomenon, but not a universal one. As Tip O'Neill (didn't) put it, all job statistics is local. Who cares about the national trends if my friends and I can't find work?
Earlier, I even saw a couple companies responding in the comments by practically begging welders to come work for them. They're out there, but they're not everywhere.
- Fast Company says Pew says the "clean energy economy " stimulates job growth. They include a Pew chart showing the hot states for clean energy:
installed wind capacity in recent years in plains states like Texas, Iowa, and Illinois, none are front runners.