More American Factories Closing

America has been losing manufacturing capacity, jobs and precious technology for decades as the nation transitions to a more service-centric economy, but the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression has only hastened the transition, causing factories across the nation to permanently close their doors.

Many of those factories, with the help of America’s lackadaisical free trade policy, have relocated to China, Mexico or India, where labor is cheap and environmental regulations are almost non-existent.

Others are simply shutting down factories and consolidating production in a move to cut costs and remain competitive with multinational companies with large, cheap Third World workforces.

In Indiana, which lost 200 jobs when an Eli Lilly and Co. factory closed earlier this year and another 1,100 jobs when a Whirlpool factory announced it was moving production to Mexico, a factory closing will cost roughly another 100 manufacturing jobs. Perfect Fit Industries, a textile factory in Loogootee, Indiana, recently announced that it would be closing its doors for good. The company had been operating since the 1930s, and served as a major source of employment for the small community of 2,700.

Quad/Graphics Inc., a printing business based in Wisconsin, announced that it would be closing at least five plants before the end of the year. Plants in Dyersburg, Tennessee; Reno, Nevada; Clarksville, Tennessee; Lebanon, Ohio; and Corinth, Mississippi are all set to close.

“Through this plan, more clients will benefit from our industry-leading technology and automation, while continuing to receive top-quality, on-time services,” the company said in a news release.

Overall, 2,200 employees will be left without work.

In Kenosha, Wisconsin, a Chrysler engine factory will close its doors, costing 575 employees their jobs. And 151 workers will join the 9.5 percent of Americans out of work after a Dean Foods factory in Florence, South Carolina closes for the last time.

According to the American Prospect, since 2000, the U.S. has lost 5.5 million manufacturing jobs, with 2.1 million jobs lost in the past two years.

The American Prospect also estimates that, since 2001, 42,400 American factories have closed their doors, and roughly three-fourths of those employed over 500 people while they were in operation.

According to Moody’s, one million of those jobs will never come back. And the National Association of Manufacturers says that the best-case scenario is 540,000 of those jobs returning or being replaced in the manufacturing sector in the next five years.

“In these economic times it’s not like these people can go out and (say) ‘Oh, I’ll get another job,’” Janelle Ferrier, wife of a soon-to-be jobless Quad/Graphics employee, told The Tennessean.

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