If The US Wants to Reshore Manufacturing Jobs, It May Want to Start Acting Like it.

Monday, February 6, 2012 4:02
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Research anything related to China and US jobs, and you are bound to come across some heated posts about China… and some celebrities punting “MAde in America”.. i.e. buy American brands, but not necessarily American manufacturing (i.e jobs)

One of the more entertaining articles I  came across called  47 Signs That China Is Absolutely Destroying America On The Global Economic Stage.  A list of loosely related statistics that are meant (when thrown together on a blog) to highlight how (1) China is kicking”our” ass and (2) Obama is doing nothing to stop it… and that if “we” don’t act fast America (the “we”) is going to cease to exist as a nation.

Reminds me of the 80s, only instead of the Chinese it was the Japanese…

… and while I  disagree with the context of the post, particularly as a number of the statistics (regardless of their level of accuracy) are simply taken way out of context, are void of any real analysis, and often fail to show any real relationship between each other (or between China and the US), there were three statistics in particular that I thought were eye opening:

#40 According to U.S. Representative Betty Sutton, an average of 23 manufacturing facilities a day closed down in the United States during 2010.
#41 Overall, more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have shut down since 2001.
#42 According to Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton University, 40 million more U.S. jobs could be sent out of the country over the next two decades.

Eye opening as they provide some context for one area that has hemorrhaged jobs, and will be the statistics that would provide the foundation for an argument that changes the system by which firms are lured to invest in the U.S.’s manufacturing economy..

It will take a change in the way American attracts manufacturing based investments, as highlighted in following passage of Bloomberg’s three part series America’s Dirty War Against Manufacturing:

“I’d love to make this product in America. But I’m afraid I won’t be able to.”

My host, a NASA engineer turned Silicon Valley entrepreneur, has just conducted a fascinating tour of his new clean-energy bench-scale test facility. It’s one of the Valley’s hottest clean-technology startups. And he’s already thinking of going abroad.

“Wages?” I ask.

His dark eyebrows arch as if I were clueless, then he explains the reality of running a fab — an electronics fabrication factory. “Wages have nothing to do with it. The total wage burden in a fab is 10 percent. When I move a fab to Asia, I might lose 10 percent of my product just in theft.”

I’m startled. “So what is it?”

“Everything else. Taxes, infrastructure, workforce training, permits, health care. The last company that proposed a fab on Long Island went to Taiwan because they were told that in a drought their water supply would be in the queue after the golf courses.”

So begins my education on the hollowing-out of the American economy, which might be titled: “It’s not the wages, stupid.”

It’s not the wages, stupid.. classic.

More to come.  Highly recommend reading Bloomberg’s piece in the meantime.

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