Friday, October 24, 2014

A public recording of a bet with Rob Westervelt, editor of IHS Chemical Week

A couple weeks ago, I expressed my frustration on Twitter with a USA Today piece that seemed to be an attempt to push younger people into manufacturing careers without a recognition that, over the long term, employment in manufacturing has been falling:
"Anyone touting new blue-collar jobs be willing to put $500 down on 10 year trajectory of manufacturing employment?"
Rob Westervelt (the editor-in-chief of IHS Chemical Week) asked what the over/under for growth in the manufacturing super-sector was over the next ten years was, and I said (bravely/stupidly) "zero." He was willing to talk about a bet, so here we are.

We got together by e-mail and came up with a few stipulations:
  • I asked for a reduction of stakes to $100, which Rob granted. 
  • Rob suggested that the stakes to a charity of the winner's choice. 
  • We're going to measure the "production and nonsupervisory employees" portion of the "chemical manufacturing" subsector, as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 
  • The baseline will be December 2013, with the bet ending in December 2022. 
  • If there are more production/nonsupervisory employees in December 2022 than there were in December 2013, Rob wins. If there are fewer, I win.
Honestly, if Rob wins, we all do. No one wants to see chemical manufacturing employment go up more than I do. 

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