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An economic giant’s Achilles heel

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A year ago,┬áNick Carey went on a road trip around America for a project called “Route to Recovery” that took him to places hit hardest by the recession. Nick went to Saginaw, Michigan,┬áthis time for a follow-up special report on the manufacturing sector and structural unemployment: “Is America the sick man of the globe?”

One of the characters he met was Olen Ham, a retired GM worker and UAW member who is among the last of those who took part in the historic “Sitdown Strike” in 1936 that he says helped create America’s middle class. You can hear from Olen in this video:

Manufacturing has borne the brunt of the lay-offs in recent years, as this graphic shows:

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Here’s another graph that shows how unemployment and manufacturing are closely linked.