The Wall Street Journal has a great article about the history of trade from the 1960s. Extensively covering the high points that defined our trade parameters from the post WWII America to the current globalization, there’s a big picture overview with a microcosm feel. Covering events from WWII, through OPEC, and into NAFTA and now the TPP, the article is a quick but meaty read. However, it doesn’t touch on the changes in the logistics labor markets that have also helped shape the expansion of trade in America.
The logistics labor market has exploded as an employer as trade has grown over the last 5 decades. Transportation is possibly the most volatile right now as automated trucking begins testing in Nevada and a shortage of drivers forces many companies to pursue alternative resources to make up the difference. We’ve also discussed the push to hire veterans, as many supply chain managers have found a wealth of knowledge befitting to logistics in the skills veterans acquired while serving our country. This is a strong trend that is speeding up particularly in our industry.
As China’s economy begins to contract and the cost of labor rises, many jobs that are not logistics specific are returning to the US to balance shipping costs. As shippers try to mitigate delivery pricing increases, building more factories locally in the US seems to be the most cost effective option. Coupled with the increased border security costs and low fuel prices the Chinese recession could lead to an expansion in our own markets.
Logistics and employment are two sides of a single coin and in no subject is that more evident than any article that discusses NAFTA. While
there were huge manufacturing losses attributed to the agreement, and thus again feared to worsen after the TPP takes hold, thousands of logistics, border, immigration and shipping jobs were created at inland ports across Texas. As the TPP is ironed out we will see another significant change in the US labor market. As the US is on course this decade to surpass Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s largest oil producer, jobs in the oil and gas industry are expected to grow along with the transportation needs they generate. BCS is excited to watch where we all go in the next 50 years.