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Those Factory Jobs? 194,000 Quit in June

18 Aug

The Chumph is going to “bring back” those factory jobs? Unemployment in manufacturing areas through the roof?

Then why are so many folks quitting?

The white-wing doesn’t want to work…And doesn’t want anyone else to work either.

Former Carrier Worker Who Quit

Trump tried to save their jobs. These workers are quitting anyway.

Kipp Glenn grew tired of standing for eight-hour shifts, assembling steel furnace doors. His knees ached from 25 years on the concrete factory floor. So even after President Trump made his job at Carrier a symbol of American prosperity and vowed to save it, the Indiana native took a buyout.

“What we want to call ‘blue-collar jobs’ are on the way out,” he said.

At a time when the Trump administration argues that creating manufacturing jobs is a critical national goal — even coordinating with states on generous subsidy packages to woo blue-collar employers — many factory workers are making a surprising decision: They’re quitting.

Government data shows workers in the sector are giving up their jobs at the fastest pace in a decade. That’s a powerful sign, economists say, that workers think they can find work elsewhere.

Part of this confidence stems from the nation’s 4.3 percent unemployment rate, a 16-year low. But they say they also fear robots zapping jobs in the future, while many workers have tucked away savings from union-championed raises and retirement benefits.

Leaving steady work, of course, carries risks, and some who quit may elect to stay in the field. As Trump and other politicians have argued, manufacturing pay has historically provided higher wages and more benefits than other types of blue-collar work. And there is no guarantee that these workers, who often possess just a high school diploma, will not encounter new challenges in an economy that favors those with more education. Many others who have been forced out of the industry over the past 20 years because of increased automation and outsourcing have struggled to find equally rewarding work.

Still, analysts say, the increase of people departing reflects a healthy adjustment in an industry that is likely to shrink as technology advances.

“It’s not this apocalyptic scenario that a lot of people make it out to be,” said Michael R. Strain, director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, a right-leaning Washington think tank. “We shouldn’t be talking about these workers like they’re helpless.”

‘It’s scary’

Carrier came to the nation’s attention last year when Trump excoriated it for sending jobs to Mexico. The company ultimately agreed to preserve some jobs, thanks to a deal with the state government in Indiana — worked out with the Trump team — but some layoffs were still permitted to move forward.

Nearly half of the 337 employees who left Carrier on July 20 in a wave of planned job reductions did so willingly, citing a belief that automation threatened their job security and that they could find or make better work. They also seized a severance package that included a week of pay for every year at the company.

Since Trump declared his candidacy, more factory workers have left their jobs than have been laid off or fired, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The share of employees voluntarily leaving the industry has climbed from 1.1 percent to 1.6 percent since June 2015. (During that period, the broader economy’s quitting rate barely budged, from 2 percent to 2.1 percent.)

That translates to a hefty pile of resignations. In June, the most recent month of data available, 194,000 factory workers quit their jobs, while 29,000 retired and 101,000 were dismissed.

 

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