Economist Mike Walden: What Happens to Displaced Factory Workers?

Factory work has been on the decline for several decades.  Although there’s been a slight rebound since the end of the Great Recession, many experts think automation and technology will increasingly substitute for people on the factory floor.  Do we know what happens when an individual loses a job in a manufacturing plant?

Summary Answer

  1. a couple years ago a national study tried to answer this question
  2. here are the major findings
  3. many get jobs again in factories – but only 4 in 10
  4. for others that are reemployed, a mix
  5. some go to traditional higher paying positions in technical fields and                transportation
  6. but many go to lower paying positions in retail trade, leisure and hospitality,             and food services
  7. 65% of those reemployed earned less