Manufacturing in the United States, Mexico, and Central America: Implications for Competitiveness and Migration
This report examines trends in manufacturing – with a focus on advanced manufacturing – in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and the United States. Although these countries’ manufacturing histories and contexts are quite different, the sectors are increasingly interdependent, and the prospect of moving up the manufacturing value chain by building human capital in each of these countries potentially holds great promise for improving individual livelihoods and overall regional competitiveness.
The economies of Mexico, and to a lesser extent, the Northern Triangle have benefited from aggressive manufacturing-attraction strategies. Yet the achievements of the maquiladora development strategy have masked important constraints that stymie the promise of even greater economic growth.
Looking forward, the authors outline the need for the regional workforce to gain the skills to compete with counterparts in advanced manufacturing regions such as northern Europe and Japan, as well as for credentialing standards, training systems, and outcome measures that are comparable to those in industrialized economies.
I. Overview of Manufacturing in the United States
II. Overview of Manufacturing in Mexico and the Northern Triangle
III. Understanding Advanced Manufacturing and its Potential
IV. Productivity and Skills in Manufacturing
V. Manufacturing Performance in Mexico and Central America
VI. The Role of Standards, Credentials, and Certification
VII. Looking Forward