Are Manufacturing Jobs Coming Back To America?

The Atlantitroll has recently published an article heralding the great return of manufacturing jobs to America. Economic prosperity is coming back!

Yet this year, something curious and hopeful has begun to happen, something that cannot be explained merely by the ebbing of the Great Recession, and with it the cyclical return of recently laid-off workers. On February 10, Appliance Park opened an all-new assembly line in Building 2—largely dormant for 14 years—to make cutting-edge, low-energy water heaters. It was the first new assembly line at Appliance Park in 55 years—and the water heaters it began making had previously been made for GE in a Chinese contract factory.

On March 20, just 39 days later, Appliance Park opened a second new assembly line, this one in Building 5, to make new high-tech French-door refrigerators. The top-end model can sense the size of the container you place beneath its purified-water spigot, and shuts the spigot off automatically when the container is full. These refrigerators are the latest versions of a style that for years has been made in Mexico.

Another assembly line is under construction in Building 3, to make a new stainless-steel dishwasher starting in early 2013. Building 1 is getting an assembly line to make the trendy front-loading washers and matching dryers Americans are enamored of; GE has never before made those in the United States. And Appliance Park already has new plastics-manufacturing facilities to make parts for these appliances, including simple items like the plastic-coated wire racks that go in the dishwashers.

This is a great example of big media’s habit of taking one sample point and trying to extrapolate it for an entire country (the NY Times is especially guilty of doing this). Unfortunately for The Atlantitroll and America, the facts doesn’t justify a substantial return of manufacturing jobs. Since 2001, 2.1 million manufacturing jobs have been lost. If you start from manufacturing’s peak, 7 million manufacturing jobs have been lost, a fact made even more severe by the fact that the American population has grown by 70 million during the same time period.

And the number of jobs that will be gained through the “insourcing boom”? 1,700. That’s how many jobs are created in the Atlantitroll’s anecdote with GE, which pay much less than than the manufacturing jobs that were lost in the decline.

It’s no small deal for those workers who now have a job thanks to insourcing, but until we create jobs in the millions, the boom is not even a hiccup for the economy. The reality is that globalization is here to stay, and if the Chinas of the world become unaffordable to manufacture, other countries will become cheaper. Only in specific industries with complex manufacturing will it be cheaper to produce in the United States.

If the living standards of the third-world is determined to rise, those of the first world must lower. Even a person dying of cancer will have his good days, but he cannot escape the inevitable.

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24 thoughts on “Are Manufacturing Jobs Coming Back To America?”

  1. Correct. And even in China, the manufacturing boom is ending. Factories are closing. Why? They’re being crushe by the twin hammers of robitic automation and even cheaper labor in Vietnam and Indonesia.
    For the rest of this century (I’m guessing) the developing world will have a comparative advantage in unskilled labor. That’s all there is to it. Have skills that pay or go hungry.

  2. roosh, no offense but you are a little out of your element here. this article is spot on a prescient. the author was precisely right.
    but of course current stats dont bear it out because this is a coming boom.
    oil energy high (transportation costs high)
    natural gas energy low in the US (input costs low)
    high product turn over
    increased technology in product
    higher skills required
    this means that making cheap shit in china and shipping it here is a relic. a thing of the past.
    and these things are not going to change for a long time.
    these are tectonic forces at work. manufacturing will be booming in the US for two decades at least as the energy boom grows to such an extent that we are energy exporters.
    i’ve been looking at this trend for a while now planning on how I am going to play it for personal gain over the next 20 years.
    this is the future boys

    1. But even the manufacturing jobs that come here will be sweat-shop like jobs that pay low, have long hours, and crappy working conditions.

      1. On the contrary. A quite high percentage of these jobs are still automated, as you seemed to miss in calling Amazon’s warehouses “Sweat Shops” in a previous article.
        [Roosh: I didn’t write that. This site has multiple posters.]

        This means that a substantial portion of the workers hired are solely to ensure that the machines are running fine.
        The jobs that aren’t coming back are the jobs that once were done with human operators who have now been superceeded by robots.

      2. did you read the article? that is not what was being described. and the thought process behind WHY manufacturing jobs will be arriving in the US doesn’t lead one to conclude that it will be plastic dog shit making jobs.
        another factor the author of the atlantic article didnt mention is that with a low US Dollar our exports are more attractive elsewhere as well.

      3. “This means that a substantial portion of the workers hired are solely to ensure that the machines are running fine.”
        Still a shit job
        “did you read the article? that is not what was being described. and the thought process behind WHY manufacturing jobs will be arriving in the US doesn’t lead one to conclude that it will be plastic dog shit making jobs.”
        Actually that’s exactly what one should conclude… if amazon is the world’s most successful online retailer, then that means the trends are heading in that direction.
        Shit jobs, shit pay, shit hours,… can’t wait for those jobs to come back!

    2. I respectfully disagree.
      I was in China in October to tour manufacturing facilities and it is my opinion, and that of others I was with, that North America cannot compete with China in large scale manufacturing or heavy industry. There will, of course, be exceptions but generally speaking if you saw how they do it there you would shrug your shoulders and realize that China has the advantage and any shift back to NA would require a massive change in the way the we view industry and labour. That may happen but it will take time – time measured in decades.
      Roosh’s last two paragraphs were spot on and especially insightful for a man whose greatest claim to fame so far has been avoiding an incurable venereal disease.

  3. Hey Roosh, I’m curious, how do you avoid the temptation to discuss this type of serious topic with girls you’re hitting on? D you have a mental switch that lowers your IQ 20-30 points and puts you in shallow chick mode?

    1. For the same reason I don’t ask a child for investment advice…. the feedback I get would be useless.

  4. I love how every hipster douch I meet likes to talk about “employee rights” and all this other nonsense, but then they buy every damn Apple product made by $1 an hour workers in China…
    No way is manufactoring jobs coming back to the US…NO freakin way….
    Also the statistics are misleading because they often use GOVT backed manufactoring like General Motors or some stupid solar company as an example….

  5. i know that it seems almost impossible, but i think a shift back is not as impossible as it seems. as reaper23 sez, it only takes a big enough rise of oil prices to erase profits from cheap labor and it will make sense to bring back the production jobs.
    but even if that happens, who knows what else waits us…

    1. Its not just oil prices, its U.S. govt regulation…..With Obamacare now you have to offer a certain level of health care if your company has 50 or more workers, etc, etc….

  6. Did you guys even read the article? It was all about how products have changed such that the manufacturing is actually skilled. And that the domestic factory did it cheaper and better with no shipping from china. And that American firms never actually realized major financial gains from outsourcing.
    It’s ok guys. It takes some vision to see a different future than what is right before you.
    GE invests a billion dollars to make dishwashers and shit in the US and you guys say awww it will never happen. Hello. It already did. And will continue to do so.
    Anyone checked the price of natural gas lately? I think I read the phrase “peak oil” on here recently. With that same mindset you will be left behind. Peak oil is a joke. Who cares. It is about energy
    Wrap your mind around the notion that the us will be a net energy exporter soon.

    1. @ Reaper I seriously don’t own one product that was made in America except my Nissan Xterra that MAY have been manufactored in a American Plant down south, and the dead chicken that I am going to eat for dinner….
      My underwear China, my socks Taiwan, my computer China…..
      I understand that we have top level engineers in the states, but the grunt work is all outsourced……
      Also GE is a bad example, they were in bed with the Democractic party…I”m sure they are getting some wierd tax break to make dishwashers in the states…

      1. we’re talking about the future.
        and we’re not talking about socks
        we’re talking about value add manufacturing
        seriously, did anyone at all read the article??

  7. The new natural gas boom in America (Saudi America) could herald a new golden age in US manufacturing (thanks to private enterprise, btw)…but automation continues to make the Human factory worker irrelevant. So, where do we go from here if we want to keep a strong middle class? Seems as if the working class is about to turn into the Lord of the Flies in their competition for crappy jobs; and even if they all had the mental ability to be neurosurgeons, we would still need countless more people to man the drive thru’s.
    Sigh…there must be a way to maintain the dynamism that market fueled innovation inspires, while also allowing the type of environment where everybody can realistically work, be productive, and have a decent life. In other words, how will the working class not turn into a bunch of flabby welfare recipients when all the work is done by computers and robots in 20 years? lols, all start blogs?

  8. “If the living standards of the third-world is determined to rise, those of the first world must lower”
    I have been thinking about this myself. I think it depends if you’re talking about absolute or relative terms.
    Up until recently, at least, it is clear that the first world has gotten richer. A European working a low-paid job today can afford a month-long vacation in let’s say the Americas and arrive there within 12 hours. A couple of centuries ago pretty much only the king could easily afford such an endeavor and it would take him months to get there. The peasants who emigrated to America had to sell everything they owned to get there and abstain from months of income.
    We will see if both the first, second and third world can become richer at the same time. Personally I can see both sides of the argument.

  9. The overall premise should be questioned. Why does America need low-wage manufacturing jobs? It doesn’t, since many other countries can compete on those. Where they have difficulty competing is high-skilled jobs like software engineering. That’s why nearly all software we use daily, around the world, is from American companies.
    So let’s focus on ensuring the American workforce is properly trained for high-skilled, high-wage jobs.

  10. There is plenty of work, but few jobs. We now live in the post industrial world. Efficiency gains mean even less jobs, especially in manufacturing. The US is in serious decline, Chronic under employment and unemployment is the new normal. 1 Trillion in student loans will never be paid back. Generation Y has been robbed and looted into debt slavery. They will be the poorest people since 120 years ago. Nothing but misery and war awaits Gen Y.
    “I know not why any one but a school-boy in his declamation should whine over the Commonwealth of Rome, which grew great only by the misery of the rest of mankind. The Romans, like others, as soon as they grew rich, grew corrupt; and in their corruption sold the lives and freedoms of themselves, and of one another. […] A people, who while they were poor robbed mankind; and as soon as they became rich, robbed one another.” Samuel Johnson

  11. This article strikes me in a odd way. What I’ve gleaned is: the USA went Beta. It’s damn hard to get good friends off the couch and take the Red Pill, how do you get a country to drop one?
    The macro is just a reflection of the micro.

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