Labor Day 2010 comes in the midst of a stunning wave of U.S. factory closings that stretches from coast to coast. Once upon a time America was the greatest manufacturing machine that the world has ever seen, but now it seems as though the only jobs available for working class Americans involve phrases such as “Welcome to Wal-Mart” and “Would you like fries with that?” Even though the population of the United States has exploded over the last several decades, the number of Americans employed in the manufacturing sector today is smaller than it was in 1950. America has become a voracious economic black hole that “consumes” as much as possible and yet actually produces very little. The United States is becoming deindustrialized at a blinding pace, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for blue collar American workers to find jobs that will actually enable them to support their families. The sad truth is that American workers don’t have a whole lot to actually celebrate this Labor Day. 14 million U.S. workers are “officially unemployed” and tens of millions of others have been forced to take part-time or temporary jobs that they are overqualified for just so they can survive. Unfortunately, this is not just a temporary situation for American workers. As millions of good jobs continue to get outsourced and offshored, Labor Day celebrations in coming years will be even more depressing.
The following are just some examples of the recent factory closings that have been sweeping the nation….
*Chrysler has announced that its plans to close an engine plant in Kenosha, Wisconisn are official. The factory will be shut down for good on approximately October 8th and about 575 jobs will be lost.
*The largest milk producer in the United States, Dean Foods, says that it will close a South Carolina dairy plant in October. That factory closing will eliminate 151 jobs. This is just the latest in a string of factory closings for Dean Foods. Over the past several years Dean Foods has closed factories in Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
*Continental Structural Plastics, a major producer of body panels for cars, is shutting down its plant in North Baltimore, Ohio in October and as a result 214 people will lose their jobs.
*Perfect Fit Industries (a prominent manufacturer of bedding accessories, pillows and comforters) has announced that it plans to close a factory in Loogootee, Indiana by the end of the year. As a result, 95 jobs will be lost.
*Ford Motor Company recently announced the closure of a factory that produces the Ford Ranger in St. Paul, Minnesota. Approximately 750 good paying jobs are going to be lost. Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty was so desperate to keep the plant open that he offered Ford a multi-million dollar incentive package full of tax cuts and job creation incentives to keep it open, but Ford rejected the offer, saying that the St. Paul plant just does not fit with Ford’s new “global” manufacturing strategy.
*The city of Breckenridge, Texas has been shaken by news that Karsten Homes notified nearly 130 employees that their local factory will be closing in two months.
*It has been announced that there will be a new round of layoffs at the Whirlpool factory in Fort Smith, Arkansas, but at this point the company is not saying how many jobs will be lost. Whirlpool has been laying off workers at the plant steadily over the past few years as much of the work that was once done at the factory has been moved to a facility down in Mexico.
*Midcoast Aviation is closing its Savannah, Georgia factory by the end of the year. This move will affect approximately 362 jobs.
*Federal-Mogul has been making headlamps for automobiles and for industrial use since 1954 in Boyertown, Pennsylvania, but now that era is coming to an end. Federal-Mogual has announced that the Boyertown plant will close by the end of the year and 70 jobs will be lost.
*Duro Bag Manufacturing Co. plans to close its factory in Hudson, Wisconsin by October 22nd. As a result, 63 workers will be without jobs.
*Quad/Graphics is the second-largest commercial printer in the United States. It prints Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, Time and Wired magazines. Unfortunately, times are tough for Quad/Graphics and they have announced the closing of five plants. The facilities to be closed are located in Mississippi, Ohio, Nevada and Tennessee. As a result of the closings, 2,200 workers will lose their jobs.
Scenes such as these are being repeated over and over and over across the United States.
What we are witnessing is the slow-motion deindustrialization of the United States.
This is very bad news for American workers, and indeed it is very bad news for all Americans, because the truth is that any economy that consumes far more than it produces does not have a bright future.
So what do you think about the deindustrialization of America? Feel free to express your opinion by leaving a comment below….