Our area and state were built on manufacturing


Letter to the Editor,

The recent decision by Nippon Steel of Japan to purchase U.S. Steel made me wonder where the U.S. ranks with respect to manufacturing as a percentage of its economy and workforce. According to a Brookings Institute study, the U.S. attributes 12% of its total national output to manufacturing — ranking No. 2 in the world behind China. The total is half of what it was in 1970.

Over 10% of U.S. jobs are devoted to manufacturing with over 16 million Americans employed in the sector. By comparison, over 19 million Americans were employed in manufacturing in 1979 — with 4 million jobs added from 1961-69 and 3 million jobs added from 1975-79.

While the U.S. Steel sale may be a good business deal for both companies, many business leaders and a bipartisan coalition of political leaders have reservations — including long-term impacts on communities where U.S. Steel plants are located, national security implications and steel market/trade issues (world glut of steel capacity, et cetera).

Having worked with the Dover Public Library’s Jim Gill and Kim Jurkovic to write “Built by Steel: The History of the Dover Public Library,” I can agree with the fact that strong manufacturing built and sustained communities like ours.

We still have pockets of continued manufacturing success (Allied, ProVia, Dover Tank & Plate, et cetera), but the number of homegrown manufacturing companies and jobs lost here since the 1980s has not recovered.

At some point ownership matters. Will Nippon leaders in Japan still feel the same way about workers and their families in Lorain, Ohio and other U.S. Steel locations a year from now or five years from now?

Will world politics turn current allies into future adversaries? Is the U.S. prepared to respond?

Tom Adamich, MLS

President of visiting librarian service

New Philadelphia

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