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Old 09-11-2014, 11:20 AM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjlo View Post
So here's a question, talking about the decline in steel because of decline in other industries. During all of the manufacturing declines the US Automakers were still posting record sales of vehicles. The number of vehicles sold and manufactured went up most years. The economy was still exanding over the long term. They must have still needed steel. So was it less in demand? Or did they just produce it elsewhere, cheaper?
The US imports about 18% of steel that it consumes. I think other industries didn't demand it as much, as local manufacturing declined. Also, steel production is about 60% of peak production in the early 70s. But improvements in labor productivity mean that fewer workers are needed to produce the same amount of steel, the steel workforce size is under 25% of peak.
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Old 09-11-2014, 11:58 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Btw, the NYC MSA had the same % population loss as Pittsburgh in the 70s. NYC metro Population change switched to a slight increase afterward, but domestic migration didn't really recover.
Domestic migration really shouldn't recover though. The majority of people (ie, not highly skilled) migrate to an area for 1) accessible jobs 2) because it's cheap. NYC is a tough job market to break into for someone not highly skilled or someone who has connections in an immigrant point of entry neighborhood. NYC metro real estate has also appreciated at rates higher than the nation as a whole, which prices out a lot of domestic migrants. NYC in the 70s also had problems that were even unique to other large cities at the time (the unprecedented budget/fiscal crisis). That was also the death knell of NYC's last major "traditional" manufacturing export industry (textiles). It's probably easier to look at urban area population change by decade because that avoids the issue of SMSA-MSA definition changes and the like.

1950-60 Pop change NYC v. PIT: +14.8% vs. +17.7%
60-70: +14.8% vs. +2.3%
70-80: -3.8% vs. -2.0%
80-90: +2.9% vs. -7.3%
90-00: +10.9% vs. +4.5%
00-10: +3.1% vs. -1.0%

90-00 is artificially high because the definition of what qualified as "urbanized" as part of an area loosened considerably. If it hadn't Pittsburgh would have been in the red in the 90s too. Steel started getting really beat up in the 60s thanks to increased global competition, declining demand, and automation. There was maybe a 5-10 year lag on the same thing happening in fields like autos, chemicals, industrial machinery, metal fabrication, etc that hit Detroit, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Chicago. The advantage in these industries is that manufacturers can at least differentiate and compete in niches on quality despite the price pressure. If Detroit stayed on top of things, they could have competed better with Honda, Milwaukee can still compete on quality in industrial machinery and instruments, etc. Steel companies will try to say differently, but as long as someone isn't screwing things up and has the process down, a roll of grade X steel is a roll of grade X steel. Companies are only competing on labor, speed, and location/transport costs.
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Old 09-11-2014, 12:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nei View Post
But improvements in labor productivity mean that fewer workers are needed to produce the same amount of steel, the steel workforce size is under 25% of peak.
Improvements in technology. Something that doesn't get much attention. There are a lot of jobs we just don't need people for anymore. Unfortunately nearly all of those increases in productivity don't get distributed amongst the workforce or through taxes but all go straight to the top.

Per the question from the other poster about rising auto sales vs. declining steel production . . . steel mills along the Delaware River weren't making steel for cars. It was for bridges, for ships, for aviation, for steel cables, etc.

Appliance production - fridges, washers, dryers, even tvs and radios moved offshore starting in the 60s and the Japanese were making their own steel for those things.

Also don't forget that while US steel production might be down only slightly on the whole the US population has doubled since the 1950s.
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Old 09-11-2014, 12:42 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
Improvements in technology. Something that doesn't get much attention. There are a lot of jobs we just don't need people for anymore. Unfortunately nearly all of those increases in productivity don't get distributed amongst the workforce or through taxes but all go straight to the top.
Yes, improvement in technology improves labor productivity. The technical definition of labor productivity is output per worker-hour. Obviously, labor productivity of the steel industry increased, unless workers started working much longer hours, which I doubt. And so the entire supply chain of some industries moved overseas to the point where it wouldn't make economic sense to restart some of these industries.
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Old 09-11-2014, 12:59 PM
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Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
You can't have a sharp decline in manufacturing that requires steel and then expect the steel industry to just keep chugging along without a sharp rise in exports.

That and while Pittsburgh was well known as being a center of steel production it wasn't the only thing happening there and it certainly wasn't the only place in the US that steel was being made.
You are correct but I don't get your point. You're saying the steel industry declined due to a lessening demand, which is undoubtedly true. The point is, it declined, and with it a substantial number of jobs were lost. In Beaver County (suburban Pittsburgh) 66% of the working population belonged to the United Steelworker's Union. And that's just the steelworkers! There were other jobs in the mills as well. My father was an engineer for US Steel. There wasn't much going on there besides steel. In Pittsburgh proper, there were the "eds and meds" but they didn't have the prominence back then.
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Old 09-11-2014, 04:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Yes, improvement in technology improves labor productivity. The technical definition of labor productivity is output per worker-hour. Obviously, labor productivity of the steel industry increased, unless workers started working much longer hours, which I doubt. And so the entire supply chain of some industries moved overseas to the point where it wouldn't make economic sense to restart some of these industries.
I appreciate the semantics but that wasn't my point.

The decline of unions has left workers less able to share in the profits from these advances in technology. It continues today with things like smartphone apps and online shopping. This correlates strongly with the drop in male wages we've seen since the early 1970s and are a large culprit in the patterns of urban (and now suburban) disinvestment we've seen since then.
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Old 09-11-2014, 04:19 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
I appreciate the semantics but that wasn't my point.
Ok, sorry thought you were making a semantics point as well.

Quote:
The decline of unions has left workers less able to share in the profits from these advances in technology. It continues today with things like smartphone apps and online shopping. This correlates strongly with the drop in male wages we've seen since the early 1970s and are a large culprit in the patterns of urban (and now suburban) disinvestment we've seen since then.
I agree with you, though I doubt unions would have been able to prevent much shrinkage in workforce due to more efficient heavy industry. The worker's share of income would have been a bit bigger, though for the steel industry there weren't many profits to share with the workers for a while.

Germany, which hasn't seen unions decline, has seen heavy job losses in heavy industry (as in for raw materials rather finished products like automobiles or consumer goods). Many of these jobs are just obsolete. Losses started in the 70s or 80s as well.

Germany's broken heartland: The mighty mills of the Ruhr are running down, and tens of thousands of steel jobs are being lost. Can the 'foundry of the Reich' recast itself in a new mould? John Eisenhammer reports from devastated Duisbu

'Against the 600,000 jobs lost in coal, steel and related industries in the Ruhr over the last 30 years, the compensatory job creation in other sectors has been well below expectations

Those who lost jobs in steel and coal found it hard to get new employment. That the jobless rate in the region did not rise above 20 per cent is less to do with job creation than the fact that during the same 25-year period, about 500,000 left the Ruhr.
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Old 09-11-2014, 07:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
I agree with you, though I doubt unions would have been able to prevent much shrinkage in workforce due to more efficient heavy industry. The worker's share of income would have been a bit bigger, though for the steel industry there weren't many profits to share with the workers for a while.

Germany, which hasn't seen unions decline, has seen heavy job losses in heavy industry (as in for raw materials rather finished products like automobiles or consumer goods). Many of these jobs are just obsolete. Losses started in the 70s or 80s as well.

Germany's broken heartland: The mighty mills of the Ruhr are running down, and tens of thousands of steel jobs are being lost. Can the 'foundry of the Reich' recast itself in a new mould? John Eisenhammer reports from devastated Duisbu

'Against the 600,000 jobs lost in coal, steel and related industries in the Ruhr over the last 30 years, the compensatory job creation in other sectors has been well below expectations

Those who lost jobs in steel and coal found it hard to get new employment. That the jobless rate in the region did not rise above 20 per cent is less to do with job creation than the fact that during the same 25-year period, about 500,000 left the Ruhr.
Sure. It can happen anywhere regardless of unions. It's happening in Japan now in many different industries despite a strong social contract. But the difference between the US and Germany is that Germany recoups a lot of those profits through taxes and reinvests it in its cities and/or redistributes it through their robust education system and social safety net.

The money keeps circulating around the bottom of the socio-economic ladder. That's not the case in the US.

If unions in the US had remained as strong as those in Europe or Australia a lot of those productivity benefits would've been shared with US workers . . . and I'm not even talking cash. The US lags far behind in healthcare costs, paid time off, parental leave, workplace safety, etc. Negotiating these things is the whole point of unions. I still agree though, if you were in a union making horse-drawn carts in 1910 there's not much that was going to save your job.
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Old 09-11-2014, 08:02 PM
 
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people left the farms for a reason ;jobs availability WWII started a huge revolution in the industrialization of America. Its continue with large urban areas becoming too costly to manage more and more. Americans now do not want to live in a an ple more and more if they can afford it. They want the peace of country more where the rich have always escaped to .Its called choice and people are using it if they can.
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Old 09-12-2014, 11:21 AM
 
Location: South Beach and DT Raleigh
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How about the following influences contributing the the decline of population in certain cities (not all of them).
  1. Stable city limits: e.g., cities whose limits did not expand to incorporate the suburban shift after WWII
  2. Decreasing family/household size resulting in fewer people in existing residences.
  3. Residential building conversions/renovations that have resulted in fewer but larger housing units.
When I think about my own family's experience, my dad grew up in a 1000 sf house with a basement on a tiny lot in one of these "declining" cities. His family had 6 kids in it. Today, I can't imagine that house is occupied by more than half that many people. I suspect that the same pattern exists across the neighborhood, city, and many other cities in the US. Post WWII America had a roaring economy but individual families were still recovering from the Depression and the sacrifices made during WWII. Is there any wonder that many of the nations' cities found their max populations in 1950 or thereabout? As the economy got better and more people became more economically stable and prosperous, it clearly triggered more autonomy for formerly multigenerational households and mobility of subsequent generations, etc. As we pursued the American dream, some cities were positioned to grow in that model while others were hemmed in and prevented from doing so.
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