Charles Fishman has a long-read on the shifting tides that are bringing manufacturing jobs back to US shores from China.
“The addition of high-tech components to everyday items makes production more complicated, and that means U.S. production is more attractive, not just because manufacturers now have more proprietary technology to protect, but because American workers are more skilled, on average, than their Chinese counterparts.”
“In fact, insourcing solves a whole bundle of problems—it simplifies transportation; it gives people confidence in the competitive security of their ideas; it lets companies manage costs with real transparency and close to home; it means a company can be as nimble as it wants to be, because the Pacific Ocean isn’t standing in the way of getting the right product to the right customer.”
But Felix Salmon points out that the picture isn’t as rosy as is often portrayed: “That might be true, but…the jobs it is creating are not the good jobs which people want to have for many years. Instead, they pay $15ish per hour… manufacturing jobs are not good jobs any more: you’re better off working in retail, whether you’re in the US or in China. And you don’t need to spend unpaid years in college learning technical skills to get a retail job.”