Yes, but not important according to Gardner Intelligence
According to Gardner Business Intelligence Chief Economist Michael Guckes, between 2000 and 2016, machine shop jobs have declined in number. He argues, however, that this isn’t a terrible situation.
Instead, he argues the composition of the workforce has changed. For example, in 2000 majority of manufacturing employees were operators while a much smaller percentage of employees were CNC programmers and engineers. Today that ratio is fast changing: the number of operators is decreasing while the number of intelligent engineers is increasing.
The Real Point is that the Manufacturing Workforce Is declining and while we can refer to them as “Human Capital” as opposed to people, it does not change the fact that people are losing their jobs.
But here is the part in that scenario that few seem to be talking about: You only need so many engineers after a point to maintain the auto-processes and even fewer to do the manual labor of the operator. A lot of folks are going to be out of a job—replaced by robots and automation, including the “smart” guys that built the system.
How do you keep all the balls in the air? What is the only way to keep all the balls in the air, keep people using their talents and the local economy healthy? You need a system in place that continues to invent new technology and products, bringing with it new jobs to support that technology and those products and services.
Makerspaces with their collaborative environments and tool sharing, bring such systems to communities. New technologies are being born in makerspaces all over the world. For example, here in the USA the SQUARE was born in a makerspace, as was Fit Bit. Both companies today grew to be multi-billion dollar businesses in a short time that now support many jobs and enrich the economy. Communities need the creative collaborative cauldron of Makerspaces filled with people sharing with one another to bring forth the next big idea for their community and the world.