The cover of the April 22 issue of Time Magazine shows robots chiseling out the words “Made in the USA” and the story is “Manufacturing is back — but where are the jobs?“
The story makes the case that (1) the “offshoring boom appears to have largely run its course”; (2) labor productivity has been rising sharply in the US over the past decade while remaining flat in China; (3) infrastructure, energy and shipping costs are cheaper in the US; (4) states are providing incentives to companies to build and hire in their states; (5) “It’s win-win when companies can combine low-cost energy with more productive local labor and cost-saving automation technology” [robots].; and (6) although fewer workers will operate these new hi-tech factories, they will be paid higher wages and required STEM skills.
GE’s $170 million battery factory in upstate NY was used as an example of high-tech methods producing backup power in cell towers all over the world at lower cost and higher quality than any other provider.
Time’s February cover story “Rise of the Drones: What happens when they’re unleashed at home?” described some of the civilian applications for these UAS. In agriculture, flights to determine where to spray pesticides or fertilizers geo-referenced to enable tractors guided by GPS to precisely spray as they drive over the targeted land; “testing air quality over feed lines, tracking livestock marked with ID chips or taking the temperature of the animal from above to scope out health issues.”