Donald Trump, as both a president and candidate, made a pledge to restore U.S. manufacturing, and specifically the coal industry, to a level that more resembles its former glory.
Ben Bernanke, a former chairman of the Federal Reserve, finds that goal unrealistic.
During a recent appearance on CBSN, he said, "We're not going to have people on assembly lines putting cars together anymore, because we have robots. We don't need as many coal miners because we have other forms of energy and cleaner forms of energy."
Bernanke continued, "What we need to do is bring people into the growing sectors and have them find good, well-paying jobs in those growing sectors."
The former chairman is not alone in viewing manufacturing labor as an increasingly non-viable career option.
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Business Insider notes that Mark Muro, director of policy at the Brookings Institution, recently commented, "No one should be under the illusion that millions of manufacturing jobs are coming back to America."
Former President Obama also broached the topic not long ago, saying during his farewell address, "The next wave of economic dislocations won't come from overseas. It will come from the relentless pace of automation that makes a lot of good middle-class jobs obsolete."
Bloomberg's Noah Smith has pointed out that even though assembly line jobs are unlikely to experience a revival, bringing more manufacturing to the U.S. could help boost lucrative employment opportunities.
In a piece published on March 9, he noted, "...robot factories pumping out goods — creates jobs for Americans in other ways. As economist Enrico Moretti explains...high-tech manufacturing creates higher-paying service-sector jobs in a local area. The dollars that come into a town with a robot factory get spent on doctors and waiters and personal trainers, and the money circulates throughout the community, leaving everyone better off."