The tide is turning. Jobs are coming back to the U.S., and manufacturing on American soil is growing new roots. Over the past 3 years, half a million manufacturing jobs have been created in the U.S., outpacing manufacturing growth in other advanced nations, according to Time magazine.
Consider these facts from Made in the USA by Rana Foroohar and Bill Saporito in Time’s April 22, 2013 issue:
- General Electric’s Schenectady, N.Y. plant is churning out cell phone tower batteries 24 hours a day and still can’t keep up with worldwide demand.
- ExOne has opened a 3-D printing plant near Pittsburgh.
- Dow Chemicals is expanding ethylene and propylene production in Louisiana and Texas, potentially adding as many as 35,000 new jobs to the economy.
- Apple is moving assembly of one of its Mac computer lines from China to the U.S.
- Walmart, which has been synonymous with “made in China” for decades, has promised to funnel $50 billion to American suppliers over the next 10 years.
- Airbus plans to build JetBlue airplanes in Alabama.
- Ashley furniture is investing $80 million in a new plant which is expected to revitalize the North Carolina furniture industry.
America’s burgeoning manufacturing growth is new found. As the Time article points out, this is the “first time in more than a decade that the number of factory jobs has gone up instead of down.” But the flood of manufacturing jobs back to U.S. shores is not an anomaly but a change in current borne on new access to cheap energy from the shale boom, increasing labor costs in China and India, and higher transoceanic shipping costs. For the first time in a long time, manufacturing in the U.S.A. makes good financial sense.
“The offshoring boom does appear to have largely run its course,” Paul Ashworth, Chief U.S. Economist for Capital Economics, told Time.
But the return of manufacturing jobs to U.S. shores, while good news for the economy, is not necessarily good news for the thousands of factory workers that lost their jobs in the recession and auto company restructuring.
To be continued