“A college-educated, manufacturing engineer makes $1,500 a month working the production line at a GE plant in Mexico (about $75 a day). A typical manufacturing engineer that works for GE in the United States makes nearly $75,000 a year, (about $312 a day … or 4X the rate in Mexico). That wage gap can easily explain why so many manufacturing jobs have left the United States. Since 2000, the U.S. has lost about 5 million manufacturing jobs. Manufacturing has crossed the Rubicon — or Rio Grande — and it’s hard to see those jobs returning to the U.S.”
A huge wage gap between American and Mexican workers stands center in the debate over how the U.S. has lost so many blue collar jobs. We can bemoan the loss of manufacturing jobs in the United States, but it is incredibly unlikely that low-skilled manufacturing will become a viable means to achieve a middle class income in the future because of fundamental shifts in economic geography.