The real Detroit – The jack-of-all-trades city

What makes Detroit the jack-of-all-trades city?

Part two of two

The Detroit News in co-operation with the Mayor’s Committee for Economic Growth published an article titled: City of Many Muscles and Skills. This article was published in the 1961 Special Report “The Real Detroit” and it highlighted Detroit’s very diverse economy. Here is a recap of the article:

Detroit put the world on wheels. The city is justly proud its title of automotive capital and the fact that it is headquarters for companies producing 95 percent of America’s cars and trucks. But Detroit is proud, too, of another fact. It is a jack-of-all-trades city.

Detroit may have produced 95 percent of America’s cars and trucks, but only 15 percent of Detroit’s workers were engaged in making motor vehicles or equipment. The other 85 percent were employed in other industries doing everything from bottling soft drinks to wiring intricate control panels for missiles. Detroit was a world leader in producing drugs, industrial chemicals, steel, paint, tires, storm windows, machine tools and accessories, stamping mechanisms of all kinds, office machinery, hardware, commercial films, architecture, advertising and fish lures. Wall Street knows Detroit for its stock exchange and its pioneering in the field of investment clubs.

Wherever milk is poured from cartons, chances are the carton was made on Detroit machinery. Two-thirds of the world’s cartons bear the imprint of Detroit’s Ex-Cell-O corporation.

Reach for a vitamin capsule-or any type of gelatin capsule-and it is likely both the capsule and the ingredients were made in Detroit, home of the R.P. Scherer Corporation, world’s largest capsule maker, and of Parke, Davis & Company, world leader in sales of ethical drugs.

The article compared the workers in Greater Detroit who were employed by the automobile industry in relation to other non-manufacturing industries. The article stated: Greater Detroit employs more workers exclusive of the auto industry than are employed in all manufacturing in Boston, Pittsburgh, San Francisco-Oakland, St. Louis, or Cleveland. Greater Detroit tops the nation in the proportion (39 percent) of its work force employed in manufacturing. An even higher proportion (42 percent) of its work force is employed in non-manufacturing services.

Those in Michigan State University Extension that focus on land use provide various training programs on planning and zoning, which are available to be presented in your county. Contact your local land use educator for more information.

Part one – “The paper watch dog”

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