The Rust Belt which has also been called the Manufacturing Belt are various states in the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic and the Upper Midwest. The Fox Valley area is included in this area where a Fox Valley handyman operates his Fox Valley bathroom remodeling. This whole region got that name for the various types of manufacturing plants that were scattered particularly in the steel industry. Much of this took place in Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio, Indiana and upper parts of New York. It closely followed the river or the lakes region. The term rust belt came about in the 1970’s when the industry declined and many factories were closed. The only thing left from these buildings were their rusted gates.
This area became the main area for industry and manufacturing for it’s proximity to navigable waters and access to various resources. There was a big population boom that occurred bringing many immigrants to these areas for work and using the rivers, lakes and the railroad proved to be all good for shipping purposes. Things for a long time flourished in these states that were part of this manufacturing belt.
Some of the problems started occurring when other countries such as China were able to produce things for a lot less by paying their workers considerably lower wages. This produced enormous competition for the United States and we were not able to accomplish the same things for such a small amount as China could. This created outsourcing where companies started to pay people in other countries to do the work for less than American workers could. This resulted in jobs lost for Americans.
Free trade also resulted in the struggle of this region. Industries learned that steel could be produced for a lot less in third world countries than in the US so they started to get it from there rather than in America. By getting the supplies through free trade from other countries it has totally changed the supply and demand factor. With no supply of steel here in the US, there is no demand for it either and the cycle continues to where we must rely on other countries for certain items. This too, has caused hardship on this region.
Many people have also been spreading out from the larger metropolitan areas that are in this region like Chicago, Duluth, Philadelphia, Buffalo and Pittsburgh deciding to go out into the suburbs where it is more affordable than in these downtown areas. This has created less work and jobs in the cities and more opportunities out in the suburbs that have nothing to do with industry as it had always been before. This rust belt region has recently seen an increase in jobs since 2008 with some new industries happening. They are dealing with biotechnology information technology, and hydrogen cell development as well as some other newer businesses. This has been a great boost for this region and the residents here are hopeful that it will prosper again like it did prior to the 1970’s.