KRUGMAN: No matter what Trump does, manufacturing jobs are not coming back to the US

Paul Krugman, the Nobel prize winning economist and New York Times columnist, took to Twitter on Friday to address the state of the US labour market and promises by President-elect Donald Trump to being back manufacturing jobs.

To Krugman, the decline in manufacturing employment in the US isn’t because of outsourcing, but rather a decades-old feature of the industry.

“The story of U.S. manufacturing is basically one of high productivity growth allowing demand to be met with ever fewer workers,” tweeted Krugman.

Essentially, Krugman is arguing that the manufacturing sector hasn’t added jobs to the labour market in years past. Instead, improved equipment and automation has allowed US manufacturers to increase output. Thus, even if manufacturing came back to the US, most of the plants would be automated anyway, producing a lower number of jobs than one might hope for.

The tweetstorm probably has something to do with the fact that Trump repeatedly promised throughout his campaign to bring back manufacturing jobs to the US. Even on Thursday, Trump tweeted that he was working with Carrier, the air conditioner maker, to keep a plant in Indiana.

As a counter to that, Krugman appears to be arguing that fighting to keep these jobs rather than pivoting towards the service sector is backwards thinking.

“Nothing policy can do will bring back those lost jobs. The service sector is the future of work; but nobody wants to hear it,” said a tweet from the economist.

Also to Krugman’s point, manufacturing employment peaked in 1979, before a significant number of the free trade agreements Trump blames for the decline. 

Krugman has been active on Twitter following the election bemoaning the loss of Democrat Hillary Clinton and criticising the policies and appointments of Trump.

Check out the full Twitter argument here:

 

  

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