Another round of layoffs in the auto industry should get us thinking about the future of jobs in America. Ford Motor Company just announced that about 2,500 workers will be laid off and shifts are being eliminated at four plants.
It's no secret that jobs in the automotive industry used to be very desirable. They were some of the best paying manufacturing jobs, and came with great benefits to boot. But the fact is that American car makers can no longer remain competitive with these levels of wages and benefits. And since union contracts rule, often the one choice that is left is to cut jobs.
Of course, I feel badly for those losing their jobs, and I am saddened that the U.S. can't remain competitive in industries like this. However, I think that we need to rethink what constitutes a "good" job for Americans. The rules from 40 or 50 years ago simply don't apply anymore. It's hard to support a family on with the wages paid for unskilled labor in today's economy.
So what's the alternative? Instead of crying about the loss of jobs, let's put our efforts into helping people develop skills and into creating new industries in the U.S. Traditional jobs at factories may be going away, but that gives us an opportunity to develop new jobs and become competitive in other ways.
Unskilled jobs will probably continue to go overseas quickly. I say... let them! The fact is that unskilled labor is much cheaper in other parts of the world. Lets use our creativity and ingenuity to create new industries that will create new types of jobs which will give workers the opportunity to earn a better living.
Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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