The May 21, 2012, WSJ, provided an excellent example showing how the number of man-hours needed to make a ton of steel has fallen.
In addition, the steel industry has seen a fall of employment from approximately 500,000 in 1970 to 150,000 in 2012.
Less man hours and less time to make a ton translates into a technological improvement that should make sense to all AP students.
Other AP lessons that can be learned from the article include: 1) imports from foreign countries have forced US firms to become more efficient. 2) Competition between firms leads to best practices and a lower average total cost of production. The article called this twinning. 3) A shift to skilled labor in a traditionally unskilled market. The article cited a source as saying, "Steel working used to be 80% back and 20% brain. Now it's the reverse."
This last quote just shows that eduction leads to efficiency and improvement.