Manufacturing on the Move

Robert W. Crandall
Release Date: June 2, 1993

For decades, manufacturing has been moving away from its traditional home in the United States – the cold, northeastern states. To some extent, this migration simply reflects the shift of population to a more hospitable climate. But the country’s manufacturing base has moved faster than the migration of population. New manufacturing plants are still morelikely to be built and to expand in the South and West than in the Northeast, and the result is a loss of high-wage jobs for northeastern workers.

In this book, Robert Crandall examines the causes of this continuing pattern of industrial migration. He addresses the reasons the regional distribution of manufacturing has not reached an equilibrium after decades of shifting to the South and West. Crandall finds that much of the decline in Rust Belt manufacturing results from labor and market conditions, not from differences in taxes of government infrastructure.

Manufacturing on the Move provides an important assessment of the consequences of this industry shift for workers in the Northeast and Midwest. Crandall asks whether there are any policies that might somehow stem the decline of manufacturing in this former industrial heartland. He contends that, although there is little government can do to offset the labor market disadvantages of the northern states, policies should be designed to ease the transitional difficulties caused by the sudden loss of employment in major industrial areas.