Several smart people have pointed out that new manufacturing jobs today aren't paying much more than service sector jobs. Possibly those jobs might be full time, however, the average wage is somewhere in the $10 to $15 an hour range. This works out to $20K to a little more than $30K a year. In other words, the working poor.
Recent studies showed slightly more than half of Americans making less than $30K a year. We might be creating new jobs but increasingly they are lower wage and in many cases part time, gig, temporary or contract. The new majority and new normal will be the working poor, even if manufacturing returns in some form from Asia.
What's the macro result? More people living in basic apartments and/or with extended family (more common at the beginning of the 20th century). The two car family down to one or no cars forcing millions onto inefficient, unreliable, underfunded and overcrowded public transportation. Gone will be the staples of the middle and upper middle class-vacations and travel, dinners out, college for children, and new clothes and home items.
Even more scary is how will this impact a massively leveraged society. Americans and Europeans carry even more debt today than 2008, excluding mortgage debt. Companies are over leveraged. What happens if there is significant default. Will the Treasury and Fed (and ECB) again print trillions to bail out bankers and investors, no strings attached? Will there be a jubilee? How about the national debt. If tax revenues plunge while demand for services rises how will government react? Monetize the debt through the Fed even more than today? Or simply print (digitize) any shortfall, foregoing issuing treasuries. What will happen to the dollar?
Finally, how will Americans react? Just go along with the new paradigm while pining for days of old? Social revolt? What happens if public services are curtailed or withdrawn? What happens when companies of all sizes either contract or go out of business?
I know one thing. For the first 53 years of my life I lived the American Dream as my parents did. From here on out unless I am lucky my quality of life will diminish. I might not make it much past 65. Morality rates are already falling, suicide and overdose rates rising. Public education if failing. People no longer have access to sufficient medical care. Infant morality is up.
For those of us that have traveled to poorer countries we have seen the future. A small but incredible wealthy upper class, a middle and upper middle class around certain major city centers (what of the professional class that survives) and mostly poor people.
Maybe this dynamic could be stopped but there is no public or private will to do so. Americans as much as they complain seemed resigned to this fate. This is the likely future whether hawking laptops at Best Buy or working on a mostly automated assembly line.