We joked in the 1970's about the "robots coming to take your job" but it really happened. Slowly, over the course of a few decades, and then all at once in the last ten years. This is what failing towns and blue collar workers are feeling. I see it in my hometown. The refineries used to provide all the capital for the area. If you didn't work for them directly, you did something to support the people who did -- you educated their children, you ran the grocery stores that fed everyone, you ran the bank so workers could deposit their checks.
Today, the refinery my father worked in produces about ten times the amount of refined petroleum that it did when he started there in 1960. One problem, it does it with a tenth of the workforce. It used to employ 15,000+ people, now it employs 1200. In a metro area of over 400,000 people (200k in 1960), it's no longer a major employer though people think it is.
What this means is that many of the 1200 people that work there make far less than the people who did that job before them, because there's a lot competition for the low-skilled, low-education jobs. In the 60's and 70's, you could work out there with your manual labor and make a damn good living. Not so today.
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