Mark Thoma makes an important point:

...if you looked at the value of US manufacturing, it hasn't fallen nearly as much as manufacturing employment. Thus, much of the change that has affected workers is due to changes in technology, not the exporting of jobs (this comes from a study [pdf] done by the Peterson Institutute, more here). But from a worker's perspective, it doesn't matter all that much whether it's technology or jobs moving to other countries, the job is gone either way. The key, then, is to have good jobs waiting for workers when they are displaced due to inevitable (and desirable) technological change or to jobs moving overseas, jobs that are every bit as good or better than the jobs they left. That is where we are falling short. The new jobs we are creating are not as good as the jobs we are losing, when workers are forced to find new jobs they don't tend to do as well as they did in their previous job, and that is the source some of the stagnation we have seen in middle class incomes over the last few decades.

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