Recently, the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is focusing on bringing jobs back from China to the United States. For blue-collar workers, who are struggling with job cuts since the start of the Millennium, it may be a good sign. Already, the media is covering news of how American companies are trying to keep their promise of “Made in America” by cutting off-shore jobs. However, unknown to many news readers and the general public, cut-backs of Chinese labors and installing local plants is hardly going to work if the local jobs are overseen by robots instead of humans.
For instance, Ranir, maker of electric toothbrush, is just one of the many companies that are rolling-back operations from China. In theory, the company would bring the jobs back to the American people as it brought nearly one-fifth of the production to Grand Rapids. In China, these jobs were carried out by large number of workers because it needed huge man-power. For Americans, it will mean that there will be more jobs as Ranir produces nearly 13,000 toothbrush heads for major retailers such as Wall-mart and others. In reality, Ranir saved cost by automating its plants, which means that it will only need a handful of employees who can sit in their cubicle overseeing several robots in the new plant. As such, these robots will replace U.S. workers. In fact, the few human workers will also need to be tech-savvy, which will require more formal education and technical expertise.
According to Brad Hershbein, economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, the trend of automation will likely continue to increase in the coming years. Therefore, the likely promise of Trump and Clinton to impose strict trade policies on China and giving back jobs to the Americans is fraught with challenges. In fact, Brad and several other industry analysts believe that automation will take more jobs away from Americans compared to the jobs provided by installing domestic manufacturing plants. They also claim that job cuts will continue as almost all major companies in the United States are reverting to automation. For instance, the Big Four of U.S. automobile industry depend on skilled humans to make small interior auto parts. However, in the coming two to three years, dexterous robots will also take over the skilled art.