Why Are Politicians So Obsessed With Manufacturing?

Oct 05, 2016

When Donald J. Trump landed in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago, the city was buzzing about Uber’s deployment of the world’s first fleet of driverless taxicabs. Political leaders were thrilled that Silicon Valley was hiring highly paid workers and investing hundreds of millions of dollars in western Pennsylvania. Local taxi drivers were understandably less excited that robots were coming for their jobs.

Pittsburgh’s football team may still be called the Steelers, but the city has, like the rest of the country, become predominantly a service economy. More than 80 percent of local jobs are in the service sector, roughly on par with the national average. The largest private-sector employer is not U.S. Steel but the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The city’s jobs, however, increasingly are divided between a prospering college-educated elite of lawyers and doctors and bankers and a struggling mass of fast-food workers and security guards and nannies.

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