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The Future of U.S. Labor

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The Future for U.S. labor
The United States is facing a challenge in finding work for workers who have been unemployed since the recent recession. After many years of leading the manufacturing industry, the recent economic crisis, as well as the growth of the competitive global market, has caused many U.S. factories to shut down, and in turn caused a rapid decline in employment of U.S. workers (Baily, Manyika, & Gupta, 2013). However, simply employing the U.S. workers will not solve the high unemployment problem the country is facing. In this global marketplace, the United States will not only need to make improvement in the economy to create jobs that are robust and sustainable, but will also need to build a workforce that is strong and trained with the right skills (Baily & Bosworth, 2014).
This paper will first look at the significant events of the history of U.S. labor to understand the current situation of the U.S. economy and how it has affected the workers. In this paper, U.S. labor, workforce or labor force refers to a pool of people who are employed in the United States. Since manufacturing is a significant source of employment for U.S. workers, the government has made advanced manufacturing as the center of its economic agenda to help with recovering the U.S. economy. Advanced manufacturing, as described in the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) report, is an effort to improve the U.S. industry in systems engineering using materials that are cutting edge with innovative technologies (PCAST, 2012). Therefore, this paper will focus on how advanced manufacturing will affect the future for U.S. labor and help decrease unemployment. It will also discuss the different participants of the U.S. labor and how the economy could affect the participation rate of the workers, labor shortages, and skills gap in the future, as well as the role of managers. Labor shortage occurs when the supply workers with specific skills do not meet the demand of the industry (Levanon, Cheng, & Paterra, 2014). Skills gap occurs when the skills required to perform the work does not meet the expectations of the employer (Spak, 2013). Finally, the paper will briefly discuss the role of labor unions in the future. Labor union is a group of workers who join together and collectively bargain for better working conditions (Budd, 2013).
The History of U.S. labor
To understand the current situation of U.S. labor, and the challenges ahead in the future, it is important to look back at significant events that have changed its course. In the early years, majority of the workers were self-employed and very few were skilled workers who worked for small businesses, until around 1800s when industrialization changed both the economy and society (Budd, 2013). During this period, businesses became larger and employers or business owners became wealthier and powerful, while employees or workers earned low wages and worked long hours in an unsafe environment. Employers abused their workers by demanding them to work longer hours or by cutting down their wages. These negative actions by their employers drove workers to join together and fight back, even though these actions were illegal at that time (Budd, 2013). While labor unions already existed in the workplace in the 1700s, it wasn’t until in 1790s when the first local permanent unions started to form and the national unions in 1850s (Budd, 2013). However, many of these labor unions lasted for a short time. As stated by Fogliasso and Bertone (2012), many of the early labor unions did not survive because employers were against these concerted activities and punished workers, which was legal then, who joined these groups.
The U.S. society was reformed between mid-1800s and early 1920s, with the development of transportation, introduction of technology, and improvement in the economy, together with the expansion of cities and shift in the population as more immigrants came into the United States (Mohl, 1976). However, in 1929, during Great Depression, businesses had to cut down on wages or slash jobs, causing unemployment to rise and resulting to a widespread poverty. The situation in the workplace became worse as powerful employers continued to mistreat and disregard their workers, which encouraged workers to fight more for higher pay and better working conditions, (Fogliasso & Bertone, 2012). The government finally heard the pleas of the workers, and in 1935, the National Labor Relations Act of Wagner Act was implemented to allow them the right to collective bargaining (Budd, 2013).
In the 1940s, during the World War II, the United States mobilized all its resources for war that caused the manufacturing industry to grow and made the United Stats a rich and powerful country (Mohl, 1976). After the mid-1960s, for over a couple of decades, the U.S. labor force participation rose continuously, with some brief declines during economic downturns (Juhn & Potter, 2006). However, during the period 1973-95, the growth in labor productivity decelerated and the financial crisis caused a long period of economic weakness, and at the same time the rapid increase of baby boomers and women into the labor force was starting to slow down (Baily et al., 2013).
Jobs in the manufacturing sector remained stable in the 1990s, and there was continued growth in employment and productivity in the economy. However, in 2000, about 6 million jobs were lost due to the economic crisis, which is a vital source of employment in the communities, that caused damaging effects on workers who were laid off and young workers who remain unemployed (Lacey & Wright, 2009). Other company, mostly the multinational ones, looked for better opportunities in the emerging markets and imported many of their products. A few years later, the country suffered through the Great Recession, and the crash of the dot.com affected many industries, which caused businesses and organization to downsize due to low profit and some would eventually close (Baily et al., 2013). Baily, Manyika, and Gupta (2013) also stated that the decline in manufacturing meant fewer decent paying jobs available for those workers with less education. The manufacturing industry was affected the most with the sharp decline in the loss of jobs of U.S. workers.
Importance of Manufacturing for U.S labor
With the recent economic crisis, forecasters were predicting that there will be moderate growth in the economy and the weakness in employment will continue and will not recover until 2017 (Baily et al., 2013). However, the manufacturing industry in the United States has been picking up and making a surprising comeback. This recent development is a much welcome relief for the United States since manufacturing plays a significant role as a source of employment, which creates jobs across the nation, and helps address the country’s trade deficit (Kubel, 2012).
The country has long thrived in the global market due to its ability to manufacture exported goods. For almost a century, the United States was a leading producer of manufactured goods and manufacturers in the country provided a large proportion of the trade surplus (Baily & Bosworth, 2014). However, it is also a big importer, and usually imports more goods than it exports. This means that everything that is imported are goods not made in the United States, which creates unemployment. Therefore, to stay competitive in a global marketplace, the country will need to produce more U.S. manufactured products for export in order to create jobs and decrease the rate of unemployment (Baily & Bosworth, 2014).
Advanced Manufacturing: The Centerpiece in Today’s Economic Plan
Manufacturing has become a strategy of the U.S. government to fight the sluggish growth of the economy. President Obama’s vision of improving the economy for the future of the country is by reinvigorating the manufacturing sector, which is central and focus of his economic plan (Hemphill & Perry, 2012). The Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, a national effort launched by the U.S. President, recommended to call on the universities, industry, and federal government to join their efforts and skills and use advanced technologies to support the new and innovative ways of advanced manufacturing that will create high-quality jobs for the U.S. workers, and make the country competitive again in the global market that will encourage businesses to invest in the country (Kramer, 2011; Kubel, 2012). Their recommendation was endorsed by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), an appointed advisory group by the U.S. President, and recognized that technology, science, and innovation are key to strengthening the U.S. economy and developing policies that would work for the country (PCAST, 2012). In the PCAST report (2012) to the U.S. President, titled Report to the President on Capturing Domestic Competitive Advantage in Advanced Manufacturing, its recommendations are based on three pillars: (a) to enable innovation, (b) to secure the talent pipeline, and (c) to improve the business climate; and for this to be successful, it will require working with and pulling resources from the academic, the industrial sectors, and the public across the nation (PCAST, 2012). The PCAST report (2012) further describes “advanced manufacturing” as an improvement in the systems engineering, such as information coordination, computation, software, sensing, networking, and automation; and making use of materials that are cutting edge and combining its capabilities through biological and physical sciences, such as chemistry, biology, and nanotechnology. As noted by Tassey (2014), the government has initiated an action on advanced manufacturing industries, which will have significant impact on the U.S labor market in the future and growth of the economy in the long term.

With this initiative on advanced manufacturing and innovative growth, stressing on new technologies in manufacturing, such as “additive manufacturing, direct interconnections over the Internet between machines and sensor, industrial robots and automation, advanced design, direct interconnections, biotechnology, and energy production,” will create new jobs for businesses and create opportunities for profit (Baily & Bosworth, 2014, p. 19). Furthermore, Baily et al. (2013) stated that the large sectors of the economy, such as the health care, construction, and education, could take full advantage of this new innovation and generate gains in their productivity.
Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act. To further accelerate the recommendation on advanced manufacturing, the U.S. President signed into law the “Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act (RAMI)” in December 2014 (Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office (AMNPO), n.d.). The Act calls on the creating the “Nationwide Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI)” with a program that will (a) make improvement on U.S. manufacturing competitiveness that will help with the growth of domestic production; (b) stimulate businesses in the areas of research of advanced manufacturing, technology, and innovation; and (c), accelerate and development of the skills of the workforce that would support the industry (AMNPO, n.d.).
The Future of Manufacturing
The future of U.S. manufacturing will mostly depend on how the industry will benefit from the variety of new technologies being implemented and the impact it will have on the survival of the industry in the coming years. It is also important to determine the right strategy on how the U.S. manufacturing can stay competitive globally in the long term. As noted by Tassey (2014), competition in the global marketplace is not about how successful businesses or organizations are, but it is how it achieves and maintains its position and stays competitive in the supply chain of the global economy. Therefore, the manufacturing industry should put in place a well-established strategy and manufacturing flexibility in order to mitigate the risk of any disruption in the supply chain (Kim, Suresh, & Kocabasoglu-Hillmer, 2013).
Given the significance of the industry in the U.S. economy, policies should provide support to the advancement of manufacturing and not discriminate against it (Hemphill, 2014). Baily and Bosworth (2014) also noted that another important factor for the policymakers to take into consideration is to make the U.S. an attractive location for global industry by lowering the tax rate in the country, since this is too high compared to other countries’ tax rate and encourages firms to locate their business elsewhere. The United States is also a big importer, and usually imports more goods than it exports. This means that everything that is imported are goods not made in the United States, which creates unemployment. Therefore, as stated by Baily and Bosworth (2014), to stay competitive in a global economy, the United States will also need to become a better exporter of manufactured products in order to create jobs and decrease the rate of unemployment. There should also be consideration on how advanced manufacturing is implemented in smaller businesses, as the needs differ from larger businesses, otherwise implementation could result negatively. According to Walters, Millward and Lewis (2006), smaller companies should consider carefully their experience in order to select the proper advanced manufacturing technologies, as well as consider some support from an external mechanism, which would be favorable in the success of their business.
The United States is heading toward global equilibrium manufacturing with an output that is higher but with lower manufacturing employment level (Kazmer, 2014). The growing global competition, and new technologies, is demanding skills around the world where the U.S. workforce is comparatively weak (Hilton, 2008). Baily and Bosworth (2014) also noted that the development by the U.S. education system of an effective vocational programs and job training lags behind many industrial nations, like Japan, Canada, and Korea, and therefore the educational achievement of young workers in the United States is falling behind workers of these countries. Therefore, there should be serious attention in revamping the deteriorating U.S. workforce skills.
The future of U.S. manufacturing will greatly depend on the implementation and improvement of policies that would support the industry. However, as Greenstone and Looney (2011) noted, any new policy that will help with improvement or hasten recovery should be constantly and carefully evaluated so that results are promising.
Participants of U.S. labor
The U.S. labor force is going through a steady but major change. The increase in U.S. labor force is significant to the improvement and advancement of the country’s economy. Therefore, understanding the changes in U.S. labor force is important in order to project the participation rate, which will determine the size of the workforce and therefore measure the growth of productivity (Juhn & Potter, 2006). According to Toossi (2009), the projected growth in the U.S. workforce will be slow in the coming years. There are three demographic major changes in the labor force (the aging group, increase in diversity, and slow growth) that have affected the U.S. labor and are expected to have further affect in the future (Lacey & Wright, 2009).
During 2010-20, it is projected that there will be an increase of 10.5 million in the U.S. workforce due to the dynamic movement of workers going in and out of the workforce. These dynamic groups are the entrants (workers who will enter the workforce during the period), the leavers (workers who will leave during the period), and stayers (workers who will stay in the workforce through 2020) (Toossi, 2012). It is also projected that during this period, a larger percentage of men will leave the workforce than women, since they are older and are greater in number. Women population, on the other hand, will increase during the period since they are fewer. The labor force will be diverse due to the large amount of immigrants in the United States. Of the different ethnic origin, the Hispanics is expected to have the largest growth in the labor force due to the increased immigration from this group. The Asians have the smaller growth as more entrants than leavers are projected in the future (Toossi, 2012).
The cyclical and structural factors will affect the participation rates of various sectors of the workforce population, such as the baby boomers, women, youth, and immigrants, as elaborated below:
The aging. Older workers, who are now living longer and having healthier lifestyle, are deciding to stay longer in the workforce since they are able to work more years and earn more income for their retirement. Since 2008, there has been significant increase in participation rate of baby boomers in the U.S. workforce and is expected to continuously increase in the future (Toossi, 2009). Juhn and Potter (2006) further stated that due to the aging workforce, this will lower the participation of the labor force, and in turn lower its growth. The financial crisis that recently hit the country has affected the financial situation of the older workers, therefore, they will need to stay longer in the labor market so that they can replenish their retirement savings as the market continues to recover (Toossi, 2009). Also, the cost of health insurance is high so older workers are being forced to work longer years in order to retain their health insurance, and in some case, there is a need to return back to the workforce in order to obtain health insurance. The changes to the pension plan structure, “from defined-benefit to defined-contribution,” have also influenced the older workers to stay longer in the labor market (Juhn & Potter, 2006, p. 41). Based on these reasons, there is great expectation of participation of the aging workers in the labor force in the future.
Women. Women participation in the labor force is an important social goal, and it is also significant for the stability and growth of the economy. Eckstein and Lifshitz (2011) found that during the last century, education has been a contributing factor to the increase of one-third of female employment. In 1990, among the advanced nations, the United States had one of the highest women participation in the labor force, but by early 2000s, there was a slowdown in the participation rate of women (Juhn & Potter, 2006). One factor that could have affected this is due to the exploitation of women through inequality and underpayment (Hale, 2013). Women in other advanced countries have started to join the labor force, surpassing the women population in the United States (Blau & Kahn, 2013). According to Gonzales, Jain-Chandra, and Kocchar (2015), from 2011 to 2013, of the 43 million of workers who were displaced from long-term jobs, 44 percent were women. Then in 2014, a survey shows that only 58 percent of women were reemployed, compared to 64 percent of men (Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 2014). Fertility is a factor that could have significant effect on women from labor participation. Policies that foster equality between maternity and paternity leave could provide support to women and allow them to return to work sooner and that could also help with the shift of gender norms (Gonzales, Jain-Chandra, & Kocchar, 2015). An improvement in the expenditure policy, such as having access to affordable, high quality childcare can help free up time so women can have a more formal and long-term employment (Gonzales et al., 2015). By removing obstacles that are preventing women from participating economically, women are given the freedom to return to in the workforce, if they chose to.
Youth. The youth in the United States are ethnically and racially diverse, since they are mostly immigrants’ children. In fact, today’s immigrant youth in the United States, especially from the Asian and Latin American countries, is about a quarter of the children U.S. population, which is higher than in the mid-1900s share, and the source of ethnic and racial diversity (Juhn & Potter, 2006). In the next decade, it is projected that the immigrant youth will be approximately one-third of the total youth population in the United States (Toossi, 2012). Passel (2011) also noted that the demographic structure of the U.S. youth will continue to change in the coming decades, which will present some issues to the policymakers, such as a higher poverty rate among the youth, especially those with undocumented parents, and the absence of political voice from this group. In addition, both the elderly and the youth will be competing for support from the government, such as funding for further education, social security, and health benefits (Passel, 2011). Therefore, policymakers will need their continued attention on the integration of immigrants into U.S. society and their accumulation into the population (Passel, 2011). As noted by Passel (2011), this is especially important since the role of the immigrant youth is quite significant to the country and their contribution to the labor force will have a substantial effect in the future of the U.S. economy.
Immigrants. Immigrants are moving into the United States for better employment opportunity, as well as for the future of their children. In 1998-2008, due to the high immigration level, a high percentage of Hispanics joined the U.S. labor force, and further increased at the end of this period. The percentage of Asian population is lower, but projected to increase in the coming years (Toossi, 2009). Much of the manufacturing labor during the U.S. industrial revolution was performed by the immigrants, and are the cause of disproportionate number of engineers and skill scientists that are significant to and central to today’s economy (Hirschman, 2014). Due to the population growth in the United States, with increasing number of immigration and births, as well as increasing number of participation of Hispanics and Asians in the labor force, there will be an increase of the share in workforce by the minorities. Of the number of factors affecting the U.S. population growth, immigration is the greatest in terms of population projections that are uncertain, and mostly are of Hispanic ethnicity, both illegal and legal (Hirschman, 2014). Immigration greatly affected the composition of the U.S. population, making it disproportion, and has shaped the U.S. institution that has opened and allowed participation of strangers into the U.S. labor force. Similar to youth population, Hirschman (2014) noted that immigrants will have a significant effect on the future of the United State as their participation in the labor force continues to rise.
Labor Shortage and Skills Gap
Over the next couple of decades, there are two trends that could cause shortage in skills supplies: the retirement of highly educated baby boomers, and the growth of unskilled population and labor force resulting from immigrants entering into the country (Neumark, Johnson, & Mejia, 2013). The trend seems to project that the decrease in the supply of workers due to retirement, who are skilled and educated, will cause the labor market to be imbalanced if demand for this type of workers continues to grow (Toossi, 2012). The demographic composition of the country is also changing, which could also cause skill and labor shortages. There will be critical consequences for businesses and the U.S. economy if there is a widespread of labor shortages in the country. As stated by Levanon, Cheng, and Paterra (2014) a labor market that is tight and labor shortage that is broad could have serious implication on businesses.
When labor shortages occur, qualified workers will be difficult to find, the retention rate of workers would fall, the cost of labor would rise, and businesses profits would continuously decline for some time (Neumark et al., 2012). Perhaps the increased immigration could help offset this issue of labor shortages. In addition, since the issue of labor shortage is expected as a result of the baby boomers retirement, an effective strategic planning of the workforce could help businesses in predicting when these shortages are likely to occur, before the matter becomes serious, and therefore, allowing managers to prepare ahead of time.
The shortage in the U.S. labor as a whole does not necessarily mean that this will occur in every occupation and industry. With the demographic changes in the U.S. workforce, together with the dynamic and unstable business environment, there will be implications on demands for only certain skills and types of workers (Lacey & Wright, 2009). For example, as the aging group, a large fraction of the U.S. population, get closer to retirement, there will be a rapid increase in the need for medical care, which will lead to growth in the employment of workers in the healthcare and other occupation related to this field. Based on a study by Levanon et al. (2014), they found that the following occupations ranked the highest that could experience labor shortages in 2022:
Health-related workers. Due to the general U.S. population aging and getting closer to retirement, occupations in the field of health care are at high risks to shortage of labor. The growth rate projected for this occupation is above average and workers in the field usually require significant years of education and training, as well as direct work experience. Therefore, with retirement of baby boomers in this field, filling in many of the job openings will be difficult, especially with the extensive eligibility requirement for employment (Levanon et al., 2014).
Skilled workers. The skilled labor occupations, such as plant operators, workers in rail and water transportation, some construction-related workers, require workers to be less educated. By 2022, it expected that there will be fewer entrants in this field than leavers that will cause high labor shortages in these occupations (Levanon et al. 2014).
STEM workers. The future of advanced manufacturing depends on the education of the new generations for skills necessary to perform jobs in computing and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) occupations (Spak, 2013). Workers in these fields are instrumental in the scientific frontiers expansion, development of new products, and generation of technological progress (Cover, Jones, & Watson, 2011). Recently, the issue of labor shortage in STEM occupations has been raised, specifically for scientists and engineers (Teitelbaum, 2008). There is also the issue of the skills in these type jobs becoming quickly obsolete. Therefore, trying to retain or replace them will be critical, compared to other occupations, especially since advanced manufacturing will demand for more workers in these occupations (Levanon et al., 2014).
The future work environment will require workers with a different skills set to perform their work, as compared to the skills set of workers today. Given that central to the growth of the U.S. economy is on advancement manufacturing, the education and training systems will need to radically change to better prepare the labor force to perform the new ways of advanced manufacturing and avoid gap in workers’ skills (Headrick, 2014). The key to sustain a strong advanced manufacturing industry is having an abundance supply of well-suited skills for advanced technologies that will support the new ways of manufacturing (Kubel, 2012). Therefore, the future of U.S. advanced manufacturing lies on educating the new generation for skill-intensive manufacturing jobs involving computing and STEM occupations to help the economy of the country to meet the challenges of the evolving global economy (Spak, 2013).
The Role of Managers
The role of managers in the work environment of advanced manufacturing would need to change. To be competitive in the global market, managers must realize that exercising management flexibility is important for companies to endure the intense competition (Urtasun-Alonso, Larraza-Kintana, Garcia-Olaverri, & Huerta-Arribas, 2012). Since management will be interacting with educated and highly-skilled subordinates, their style of management would need to shift from a dictatorial style to a more participative one; that is, their role would be more of a consultant and/or advisor rather than a delegator of tasks and responsibilities. Co, Patuwo, and Hu (1998) stated that the managers would have a more custodian role with their employees who are technically sophisticated workers in a complex system. Urtasun-Alonso, Larraza-Kintana, Garcia-Olaverri, and Huerta-Arribas (2012) also noted that by allowing workers to be participants, managers would be able to use the workers’ knowledge in adjusting and allowing flexibility of their business based on needs of consumers. Therefore, managers will need to pay more attention and invest more on the non-technical potential of their workers.
With labor shortage projected over the next few decades, managers who would eventually face this issue are urged to act immediately that would place them ahead before the shortage cycle hits their business. Managers would need to be prepared once they see signs of developing shortage in any particular labor skill in their business by acting quickly and taking full advantage of new employees and technology, while making any changes in their programs to adjust quickly to the changing work environment and market (Co, Patuwo, & Hu, 1998). Managers would need to be prepared to compensate well enough to attract new employees and retain current ones. A manager who is prepared to adapt to the changing work environment can ensure that they will not end up at the end of the labor shortage and be left with either bad potential candidates or none at all.

The Future of Labor Unions
Organized labor unions are still significant in today’s workplace and can still provide support for working families so they will continue to enjoy a quality of life. Since 1979, the decline in private sector’s union membership in the United States coincided with the decoupling of productivity and wages (Fogliasso & Bertone, 2012; Norris, 2014). This decline in union density is not due to a low demand for representation, but due to lack of access to unionization and the strong labor laws (Norris, 2014). The changes in the economic and political sectors also had an effect on labor unions that caused a lower the union density (Budd, 2013). According to Aronowitz (2005), in order to overcome these negative effects, the future of the labor unions will depend on how they adapt to changes in the workplace environment by adjusting their policies and strategies to the needs of the workers.
Policymakers will be facing difficulty in adapting the old framework structure of labor union to the changing work environment (Norris, 2014). With the growing immigrant population, labor unions will also need to reach out and build partnership with centers and community-based organizations that support improvement of low paying jobs. Rebuilding these unions based on past organizations or trying to revive the old practice of collective bargaining will not be a successful reformation (Kochan, 2012). The political program of the labor union must be restructured to refocus to the current needs of the workers that are inclusive and educate members on labor unions, while establishing partnership with global union to fight injustice in the global work environment (Fletcher, 2005). Before, labor unions and collective bargaining worked well in improving the workers’ living standard since they provided for the needs of the workers during that period. This same principle should be applied in today’s and the future workplace, and adjust policies based on the needs of workers and their working condition at that moment. For example, wage inequality still exists and to prevent this issue to go on further, policies will need to restore workers’ bargaining power, but should also find new ways for an even effective bargaining (Mishel, Schmitt, & Shierholz, 2014). Labor union leaders should also look into finding ways to represent and include workers that are not defined in the National Labor Relations Act, which would help in testing the restructured ways to voice workers’ concern and the comprehensive and complete reform of policies of labor unions and labor law (Kochan, 2013).
Moving forward, there are several areas that the labor movement would need to focus on, such as building a broader workers’ movement beyond the paying members, recognizing the current economy and reorganizing the movement based on the changes, reinventing the process of collective bargaining, and looking into a proper retirement security for workers, especially those who frequently changes jobs (Norris, 2014). Union leaders will need to redefine their role in society, and illustrate a vision and a strategy that is positive. They will also need to show how an innovative and revamped labor movement can help make improvement in their work environment that will drive wages and other work conditions to move to a more favorable direction.
Labor organizations and employers will need to find the right balance in order to protect the rights of the workers and in turn encourage the success of the economy. The key for future labor movement is to understand the needs of the workforce, their knowledge and skills, and to serve as the champion and the driving force for innovation.
Conclusion
The recent recession has caused high unemployment rate in the U.S. labor force. To fight the U.S. economy’s sluggish growth, the main agenda of the government’s economic plan is to revive the manufacturing sector. The Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, a group launched by the U.S. President, provided recommendation on how to improve the U.S. economy, that is bringing together the skills and advanced technologies from universities, industry, and federal government to support the new ways of advanced manufacturing that will create new jobs for the U.S. labor and encourage businesses to invest in the country. “Advanced manufacturing” is described as an improvement in the systems engineering and making use of materials that are of cutting edge, and combining its capabilities with new technologies through biological and physical science. Through this initiative, the new technologies in manufacturing will create jobs for the labor force in the United States.
The demographic changes, the aging group, increase in diversity, and slow growth, will affect the U.S. labor in the future. There is great expectation of participation of the aging workers in the labor force in the future, due to their financial situation, their need of health insurance, and simply because they are living longer and healthier lives. The women participation is likely to increase in the future as well, if obstacles preventing them from working are removed. The youth population is expected to grow, especially with the increase of immigrants moving into the United States, and will have significant effect on the growth and future of the nation. Therefore, it is important for the policymakers to provide their continued attention on this population. The high level of immigration of Hispanics and Asians in the United States is projected to increase labor participation in this group of workers.
The demographic changes in the U.S. labor force will also have an effect in the shortage of labor and gap in the skills of workers, such as the retirement of baby boomers and the growth of unskilled population and labor force due to immigration. With the aging U.S. population, health-related occupations are at high risks of shortage of labor, as replacement of retired, highly-skilled baby boomers will be difficult. The future of advanced manufacturing will depend on the education and training of skills necessary to perform the jobs in the STEM occupation. However, the skills in these types of jobs can become quickly obsolete and it will be critical to prevent labor shortage in in this sector.
To adapt to the changing workforce, managers will need to exercise management flexibility and have a more custodian role with their employees. Managers will also need to be proactive in adjusting to the changing work environment and be better prepared for possible labor shortage. The key for the future of labor movement is to understand the needs of the workforce, their knowledge and skills, and to serve as the champion and the driving force for innovation. Labor organizations and employers will need to find the right balance in order to protect the rights of the workers and in turn encourage the success of the economy.
The future for U.S. labor will largely depend on the government’s plan to recover the U.S. economy through advanced manufacturing. However, the survival of this industry lies on the how the country will make full use of the new advanced technologies by ensuring there is low labor shortage and the U.S. workforce have the right skills. Policies that are supportive of the new industry will be important to this new initiative and determining the right strategy to keeping the U.S. manufacturing competitive in the global market is also critical.

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