American manufacturing is dead, right? Not exactly. The dollar value of what we make here keeps going up and up and up. But the success of American manufacturers has come at a cost. The number of manufacturing jobs in this country has collapsed as factories replace workers with machines.
Over the last few shows we've talked about the robots coming to take your jobs, and the story of the first people to fight the machines. On today's show, we take a trip to Greenville, South Carolina, where factories filled with bright shiny machines sit just across the train tracks from shuttered old mills. It's the perfect place to answer the question – what happens to a place when the machines come and thrive, and the best job option isn't to compete against the robots, but to make friends with them.
Adam Davidson also reported on manufacturing in America for the Atlantic. Make sure to check out his story for the magazine, Making It in America.