American manufacturing lost more than two million jobs during the recession, accelerating a decline that had begun long ago in the 1970s.
Yet since then, manufacturing has been one of the biggest drivers of job growth in the US, adding more than 500,000 jobs.
The BBC reports that “While much of that job growth could be attributable to post-recession pent-up demand, that is not the whole story.According to the Reshoring Initiative, a group of companies and trade associations trying to bring factory jobs back to the US, about 10% of those job gains – 50,000 jobs – were created by companies bringing back manufacturing from overseas.
“Last March, the GE’s chief executive, Jeffrey Immelt, wrote an article in the Harvard Business Review where he announced that GE planned to add more than 1,000 manufacturing jobs at its Louisville, Kentucky, facility – a manufacturing plant the company tried to sell only a few years during the depths of the recession.
“There are many reasons why the corporate accounts are once again favouring the American worker. Higher labour costs abroad, coupled with cheap natural gas as a result of the fracking boom in the US and workers who are willing to work for lower wages, have made it more economical than it once was to produce back in America.
“Moreover, changing consumer behaviour means customers often want products immediately and with varying specifications, so “it’s better to be closer to your customers”, according to Mr Noel.
“Finally, newer factories with increasingly automated technology require a more highly educated workforce, which the US has as a result of its manufacturing past. Besides, automation costs are roughly the same wherever in the world a company operates.
“With all these factors combined, by 2015 a variety of manufacturing industries, from appliances to tyres, will find it more cost effective to produce goods in the United States, according to a recent report by the Boston Consulting Group.”
For more, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20983620