The decline in the U.S. industrial base over the past couple of decades is the main factor eroding the share of American national income that goes to middle-class workers, according to consultants at McKinsey & Co.
For decades, labor’s share of gross domestic product has shrunk—while the share that goes to capital like profits, interest and rent, has risen. The McKinsey Global Institute, the firm’s research arm, finds that manufacturing accounts for more than two-thirds of the overall decline in labor’s share of gross domestic product since 1990. That, in turn, has harmed the prospects of the middle class and widened income inequality.
Luxury electric carmaker Tesla this week acquired a small, Minnesota-based factory automation company, in hopes of fixing unexpected bottlenecks on its Model 3 production line. Perbix launched in 1976 and employs 150 people in a suburb north of Minneapolis. Tesla said it’s worked with the engineering firm for nearly three years, on a number of projects on the production line at its Fremont car factory and its Gigafactory in Reno. Terms of the deal were not immediately released.
Electric-car maker Tesla has reached an agreement to set up its own manufacturing facility in Shanghai, according to people briefed on the plan, a move that could help it gain traction in China's fast-growing market for electric vehicles.
The deal with Shanghai's government will allow the Silicon Valley auto maker to build a wholly owned factory in the city's free-trade zone, these people said. This arrangement, the first of its kind for a foreign auto maker, could enable Tesla to slash production costs, but it would still likely incur China's 25% import tariff.
Tesla confirmed Friday afternoon that it has laid off hundreds of employees this week following reports that the company had cut somewhere between 300 and 700 jobs.
The job cuts come as the Palo Alto-based electric car company ramps up manufacturing for its moderately priced Model 3. CEO Elon Musk last week said the company was delaying the unveiling of its all-electric semi truck as Model 3 production hit assembly-line snags.
The layoffs were not part of structured reductions but as a result of company-wide annual reviews, a Tesla spokesperson said in a statement to the Silicon Valley Business Journal on Friday afternoon. As part of the review process, some workers received promotions and bonuses, she said, and the company is continuing to hire.
Following Ford's announcement that it would shift more resources to electric cars, the United Auto Workers has begun talks with the automaker about the potential impact of more electric-car production on jobs.
. . . In a presentation to investors earlier this week, Ford CEO Jim Hackett said electric cars will reduce "hours to build" by 30 percent compared to internal-combustion models. If a car takes less time to build, the carmaker won't need as many workers. Settles said he has met one-on-one with Hackett to discuss the issue.