The recent economic crisis has accelerated long-run trends by which, over the course of decades, the industrial base in the United States and the European Union has been undergoing a radical restructuring. Globalization, competition from emerging and developing economies, and technological advances have led significant manufacturing employment declines in parts of Europe and the United States. Last year, the United States saw an estimated one-percent drop in its industrial capacity, the largest annual decrease on record, with goods-producing businesses shedding some 2.3 million jobs. In addition, investments in both the United States and Europe into R&D and plants and equipment have decreased, potentially threatening the long-term competitiveness and employment prospects of the U.S. and EU industrial base."Postindustrialism" has been held up as the new route to prosperity, but one of the obvious advantages of manufacturing is that it creates jobs for a wide range of people-both in heavy industries like the steel and automotive industries as well as high-tech industries like semiconductors or value-added chemicals. At a time when the recession has amplified the challenges for manufacturing employment on both sides of the Atlantic, it is important to review the long-term future of the manufacturing sector in the United States and Europe.moreless
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