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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

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manufacturing

From Risking His Life To Saving Lives, Ex-Coal Miner Is Happy To Take The Paycut

The “Brave New Workers” series tells stories of Americans adapting to a changing economy. This week: after years working in the coal mines of West Virginia, a miner charts a new career in health care.

Source: www.npr.org

This series, Brave New Workers, is all about workers adapting to the shifting economic geographies.  Some industries are seen as foundational to a community and there is much angst about the loss of particular jobs.  New technologies are disruptive, and the process of job creation/job loss is sometimes referred to as creative destruction.  My uncle, once about a time, was a typewriter repairman.  Clearly, the personal computer was going to render his niche in the economic system obsolete so he became a web developer.  Not everyone successfully makes a seamless transition, but this collection of stories is emblematic of the modern American worker, needing to nimbly adapt to the labor market.

 

Tagspodcast, industry, manufacturinglabor, economic, USA.  

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Providence area sees biggest shift away from manufacturing jobs in US

A new study illustrates just how drastically employment has plunged in Rhode Island’s historic industrial base over recent decades. Since 1980, the Providence metropolitan area has experienced the largest shift in the country away from manufacturing jobs and into work requiring college degrees, according to a paper by Stephan Whitaker, a research economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. “In 1980, 40% of workers in the Providence metro area worked in manufacturing and 25% worked in degree-intensive fields,” Whitaker writes. “By 2014, manufacturing had dropped to just 11%, and degree-intensive jobs had risen to 47%.”

 

Tags: urbanindustrymanufacturinglabor, economic, Rhode Island.

Source: wpri.com

The Final Days Of Hawaiian Sugar

The sugar industry in Hawaii dominated the state’s economy for over a century. But it has shrunk in recent years. Now, the last of the state’s sugar mills has wrapped up its final harvest.

Source: www.npr.org

I grew up hearing commercials that sold the purity of the Hawaiian sugar Industry (C & H, Pure Sugar, that’s the one!).  These commercials sold not just the purity of Hawaii’s sugar, but also of the people and the place.  These commercials were some of my first geographic imaginings of an exotic tropical paradise on the peripheral edge of the United States.  Just like the imagined tropical bliss, the actual sugar industry of Hawaii is also coming to an end.  “For over a century, the sugar industry dominated Hawaii’s economy. But that changed in recent decades as the industry struggled to keep up with the mechanization in mills on mainland U.S. That and rising labor costs have caused Hawaii’s sugar mills to shut down, shrinking the industry to this one last mill.”   

 

Tags: industrymanufacturinglabor, economic, agribusiness, agriculture.

America’s Wealth Is Staggeringly Concentrated in the Northeast Corridor

“At the county level, America is a tremendously unequal place.”

Source: www.citylab.com

The concentration of wealth within U.S. cities is one of the most powerful geographic patterns in North America (and remains of of the key geographic stories of the 2016 presidential election). NYC served as a hub for the import/export of primary economic resources during the 18th and 19th centuries as the Erie Canal opened up the interior of the United States to become part of NYC’s hinterland.  NYC expanded as a hub for the manufacturing of consumer products and then began to transition to a more tertiary based economy. “There are more than 3,000 counties in the U.S. Of the 75 with the highest incomes, 44 are located in the Northeast, including Maryland and Virginia. The corridor of metropolitan statistical areas that runs from Washington, D.C., through Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston includes 37 of these top-earning counties (where the median family takes home at least $75,000 a year).”

 

Tags: urbanindustrymanufacturinglabor, economic, NYC, Washington DC. Boston.

The End of Cheap China

Via Scoop.itGeography Education
TRAVEL by ferry from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, in one of the regions that makes China the workshop of the world, and an enormous billboard greets you: “Time is Money, Efficiency is Life.”

China’s economic growth has been explosive. Many people predicting the economic future have used current growth percentages and trajectories to extrapolate into the future. The question that we should ask is: how long can China continue to grow at this current pace? Many signs are pointing to the difficulty that China will have in sustaining these levels of growth. The era of China being the world’s go-to source for cheap manufacturing is dependent on current geographic variables, variables that the economic growth is altering.

Manufacturing prices are rising, especially in the coastal provinces where factories have usually been agglomerated (also known as Special Economic Zones –SEZs). The more success that China has in manufacturing, land prices will go up, environmental and safety standards will increase. Collectively, this will mean that labor costs for the factories will also be increasing as Chinese workers are not only producing but also becoming consumers of manufactured goods with an increased standard of living. This is changing the spatial patterns of employment in China and will impact Chinese manufacturing’s global influence. Sarah Bednarz recommends this article as “a needed update on the new international division of labor (NIDL).”  For more on the topic, see Shaun Rein‘s book, “The End of Cheap China: Economic and Cultural Trends that will Disrupt the World.”

Via www.economist.com

What America Manufactures

Via Scoop.itGeography Education

“It’s a myth that the U.S. doesn’t make anything anymore.” 

The U.S. economy still produces more through manufacturing tangible goods ($1.5 trillion) than it does in providing services ($600 billion) for the international market.  The maps and graphs in this article are great teaching materials.  The impact of NAFTA is shown powerfully in the regionalization of U.S. trade partners, making this salient material for a discussion on supranationalism as well.
Via www.npr.org

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