Thursday, October 13, 2011

Reshoring Jobs Can Be Fun And Funny

BCG has turned bullish on America.  Their study of manufacturing costs in China drives them to conclude that 3mm jobs can be "reshored" to the U.S.  There are some problems with that conclusion.  The manufacturing infrastructure that used to enable those jobs was also shipped overseas, and it won't come back without major investment.  U.S. workers also lack the skills to do many of the hi-tech they could do before offshoring.  Plenty of other emerging economies have lower production costs than China, so global wage arbitrage can still keep manufacturing jobs from coming back here. 

If jobs are to return to the U.S., they will have to fit the changed skill sets and personal characteristics of most Americans.  Let's get creative, America!  Lots of grown adults in this country like to play video games, so perhaps they could get jobs as "gold farmers" who earn online credits for game-playing masters.  Asians have a lock on that job sector for now, so we'll have to give them a run for their money. 

Americans can also get jobs clearing out the vacated branch offices of banks that are bound to collapse all over again.  Fitch has put a bunch of U.S. banks on negative credit watch, so waiting for them to fail can become a fun game.  Fired bankers will only have a few minutes to clear out personal belongings from their cubicles, so plenty of temp jobs will be available for Americans who can spend a few weeks moving very attractive furniture to auction houses. 

Another great source of future employment will be the cleanup effort needed in the aftermath of the Occupy Wall Street movement.  New York City will soon require the Occupiers to leave Zuccotti Park so city streets can be restored to a semblance of civilization.  This is a full employment program for janitors and garbage truck drivers all around the nation.  Will the otherwise unemployed Occupiers want to take jobs cleaning up the messes they made?  I doubt it.  Today I walked past the OccupySF gathering in front of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco on Market Street.  The sad losers squatting there wouldn't recognize productive work if it hit them on the head.  It's only a matter of time before they get hit on the head anyway. 

In case you haven't figured it out by now, I'm being really facetious with these suggestions.  Avoiding the poor career choices I've mentioned here will require the kind of hard work to which many Americans have grown unaccustomed.  Roll up your sleeves, people.  It gets worse before it gets better.