Moody's Zandi: Manufacturing Importance Overstated

Says high-tech, smart workforce is more valuable.


If economist Mark Zandi, one of President Obama's faves, is right, American manufacturing power is shifting from Rosie the Riveter to Sammy the Seamstress. The Moody's Analytics frontman tells us that cars, steel, and ships are no longer the driver of U.S. manufacturing.

Instead, it's high tech, even in the sewing industry. "These are folks who are in L.A. doing batch jobs for elegant parties. They want very specific kinds of weaving and design and you need very skilled seamstresses to do this," he says.

What's more, he suggests that it doesn't matter anymore to the economy if the country has big manufacturing base. "Take an iPod. What would you rather do? Physically produce an iPod in the factory or create the content that goes into the iPod?"

He adds that U.S. workers are so smart, skilled, and relatively cheap that countries like China will start considering American factories. "Increasingly, global manufacturers are going to think of the United States as a place to set up shop, because of the cost structure, because of the high value-added skilled workforce, and also because of the fact that the dollar is falling in value and will continue to fall."

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