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August 1996

Semiconductors: the building blocks of the information revolution

Francisco A. Moris

Driven by advances in technology and an ever-growing demand, job growth and earnings in the semiconductor industry are above those of manufacturing as a whole. This article covers three major topics: the organization of the industry (including a geographic profile of production and employment), employment and trade, and manufacturing technology and labor (including the economics of chip assembly and the cost structure of the industry). The final section contrasts a recent slowdown in the semiconductor market with the positive long-term outlook based on industry expansion plans.

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