Job Losses to China
I just finished reading your editorial (June, In Focus, page 14) on high-wage jobs moving to China. Thank you for publishing the thoughts of many. I am one of 200 people at Mettler-Toledo Inc. (Inman, SC) that are loosing their jobs to China. Many people here have worked here all their lives. Some almost made the retirement-package cutoff date....
I have been in manufacturing all my life. It is a profession I have a passion to continue. After seeing what our government is doing to the economy, I find myself wanting to switch careers. But why should I have to...?
As a child, I took great pride in picking up my dad's tools and seeing "Made in the United States of America." Then it was "Made in USA." Now it's "Made in China" or Mexico or some other country....
We were told that the low-skill jobs would be the jobs leaving America. That was a lie. But even if it were only the low-skill jobs, why send those out? We have people doing these jobs who need income and can't do anything else. If we send their jobs away, who will support these people? You and I, with tax dollars. What's wrong with this picture?
I have to sit in our video conferencing room at 3 a.m. and teach the Chinese how to operate the machines that we sent from our plant to China. [I don't like seeing] my name on the process we developed here at our plant, which is now on the other side of the world....
Thanks again for publishing our thoughts and reading mine. I hope I don't meet you in the unemployment line.
CNC Programmer/Tooling Specialist
Mettler Toledo Inc.
Editor's Response: Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your story with us. We always appreciate hearing readers' thoughts about what we write, or should be writing. It is always painful to hear about a company moving its operations, both because of the loss of jobs and the impact in the community, and we wish you and your community the best as it copes with its loss. It is, indeed, a growing problem on which we need to work together to find solutions. Fortunately, there are numerous companies that are finding ways-through technology, productivity gains and innovation-to maintain their competitiveness and profitability in a global market without having to move. Industrial Paint & Powder would like to hear how readers are succeeding in the face of ever-fiercer competition. Contact Mike Greissel, Editor, at 630-694-4022 or email@example.com
More on the China Factor
I believe you hit on many key areas affecting our economy; your article (June, In Focus, page 14) was dead on in most respects. One problem I noticed was it was on page 14. It should have been front page!
One statistic you were too kind on was the trade imbalance with China. You referenced 2000 numbers; the real picture reads like this: Trade deficit with China year-end 2002 was $103 billion. When you back out services and technology, which ran a surplus, we were closer to a $150 billion deficit in manufactured goods. Then, if you look at the current year-to-date deficit with China on manufactured goods only, we will probably hit $200 billion by year end. To put this in perspective, our entire trade imbalance with the world in 1998 was $170 billion. If our administration does not wake up and see what's happening, U.S. manufacturing will not recover for decades. We will continue to see declines in employment and wages for the next 10 years until trade controls are implemented....
The impact of Mexico pales in comparison to what is happening to us from China. I hope to see more articles like yours in the future.
Wolke Paint Manufacturing Co.