Saturday, July 09, 2005

Tayato Toyoda toyoda Toyota to Canada

A positive job creation report from the Labor Department fueled a 146 point gain in Friday's Dow Jones Industrial Average. Job growth was up in June and unemployment was down, so the market rewarded the news.

As a sign of how low the stock market's expectations have fallen, the market surge was based on a lackluster, below forecast Labor Department report. Wall Street and the vaunted Industrial Average completely ignored the fact that the June report also documents the loss of 24,000 manufacturing jobs during the month. Those losses add on to the 2.7 million manufacturing jobs lost since 2001.

Manufacturing jobs are the economic engine of an industrial society. Wal-Mart greeters, McDonald's counterpersons and Supercuts barbers are all valuable to society, but it is the manufacturing sector that helps to create and sustain the middle-class that is vital to the economic health of a nation.

That critical middle-class is shrinking. It is being replaced at one end by a tiny fraction of the ultra-rich and at the other by a growing poverty level category of wage earners.

Good jobs are fleeing this country or as a post on the Daily Kos examines, they are not coming here in the first place. The Kos post references a CBC business report that provides a painful analysis of a decision by Toyota to build a major manufacturing plant in Canada as opposed to the United States.

Toyota's primary rationale for the decision to got to Canada:

The level of the workforce in general is so high that the training program you need for people, even for people who have not worked in a Toyota plant before, is minimal compared to what you have to go through in the southeastern United States," said Gerry Fedchun, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association...

He said Nissan and Honda have encountered difficulties getting new plants up to full production in recent years in
Mississippi and Alabama due to an untrained - and often illiterate - workforce. In Alabama, trainers had to use "pictorials" to teach some illiterate workers how to use high-tech plant equipment.

The United States is hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs and, while the Bush Administration tries to find ways to further reduce taxes on the richest members of our society, it is starving state and local governments of the money required to simply educate people.