At the same time, while many people mindlessly repeat the phrase, “We don’t make anything here anymore,” it’s simply not true. The fact is the United States remains the preeminent manufacturing power in the world, producing about 20 percent of the world’s manufactured goods in the United States, and a lot more outside the country. Though China produces almost as much as the United States does within its borders — also about 20 percent of the world’s goods — there is a big difference between what our two countries make.
China is a world power in low-margin electronics assembly, textiles and machinery. But the United States is a powerhouse in high-end, high-margin, sophisticated manufacturing processes. The United States leads the world in aircraft engines, turbines, avionics, advanced material fabrication, helicopters, business jets, and — depending on the year — airliners. We are also the leader in sophisticated radar and telecommunications technology, and, of course, in weaponry. In addition, the United States has retained its leadership in space, with private companies, like SpaceX, building some of the world\’s most sophisticated rockets.
There is a lot of evidence that there was movement underway to repatriate manufacturing to the U.S. from abroad before the 2008 crash. That movement stopped during the Great Recession but has now resumed. American companies, as well as foreign firms, are expanding their manufacturing in the U.S. BMW, for example, is now making all of its SUVs for the world in the U.S.
This is one of the few upbeat articles about the U.S. that I have come across lately. Although I am skeptical about all the claims there is enough evidence to show that we might be on the verge of a comeback in 2014. That is good news indeed, except maybe for those who are not qualified for these more intellectual jobs that are being created.
Except for the decision by Apple Computer to build their top-of-the-line $10,000 Macbook here,I haven’t heard much about companies wanting to repatriate manufacturing within our shores. On this topic of U.S. jobs there is a mountain of hype going on so it is hard to discern fact from fallacy. Everyone with a particular agenda has their own story and it often directly conflicts with another story.
While China may have started out as Japan did in the 1950s with low-cost, low margin manufacturing they are quickly moving beyond that state. They are currently setting up manufacturing for commercial airliners, automobiles and such. It took them only five years to come up to par with the U.S. in manufacturing. What will the next ten years be? I hope someone besides China is looking that far ahead?
Now if we can just get our educational system that prepares people for these “sophisticated” systems jobs we might must live to fight another day….