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Business and Labor

Where’s the Oft-cited Local Renaissance in Manufacturing Employment?

(Buffalo, NY) Local politicians, business persons, and policy wonks have set their sites on (advanced) manufacturing as a pillar for local economic growth [pdf] – including growth of good-paying jobs. Unfortunately, wishful thinking tends to trump hard assessment of the facts. Whereas there has been an attempt to claim that employment in manufacturing is on the rise locally, a quick glance at the chart shows that manufacturing employment is not even recovering from the recession, let alone experiencing some kind of vibrant rebirth.

Until so-called experts are willing to dispense with “boosterism”, there is little hope that implementation of policy locally will be informed by reality. This generates risks to achieving any meaningful strategies or plans, because decisions based on inaccurate representations of data will prove poor. In order for policy to succeed, decisions need to be based upon reasonable interpretations of actual facts – not wishful thinking.

Expect continued poor performance of local policy initiatives, until such a time when those charged with their implementation are willing to assess facts on the ground in a cool and rational manner.

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