From a NY Times article by Stephanie Strom June 12:
“A few companies have taken some small steps to bring lost manufacturing jobs back to American soil, driven sometimes by declining labor costs in the United States, other times by dissatisfaction with the quality of goods made abroad.
“General Electric, for example, has created almost 800 jobs by building plants in Schenectady, N.Y., and Louisville, Ky., to make sophisticated batteries, some of which were previously made in China. NCR is making automated teller machines in Georgia that had also been made overseas. Last month, Starbucks announced it would build a factory in Augusta, Ga., that would employ 140 people and make the company’s Via instant coffee and the ingredients for its popular Frappuccino drinks. About half of Starbucks’s new employment overall will come in the United States, the rest internationally. …
“The effort is not all altruistic. Chinese labor has become more expensive, and Starbucks and other companies are looking at their supply chains more holistically. American Mug can deliver to Starbucks in four days, while Chinese suppliers may take three months.
“A Chinese supplier is also likely to require an order in the hundreds of thousands, increasing the risk that Starbucks will get stuck with inventory. And then there is the difference in shipping costs. ‘No doubt the cost of doing what we’re doing in East Liverpool [Ohio] at least in the initial stage will be more expensive for Starbucks, but the investment we’re making in this is about the conscience of our company and recognition that success has to be shared,’ [Starbucks CEO Howard] Schultz said.” Read more here.
We will probably never have the massive manufacturing we once had, but do send me what you hear about manufacturing picking up, even a little. For example, I recently heard about a new company in Massachusetts, 1366 Technologies, which makes silicon wafers for solar applications and has a manufacturing pilot going in Bedford. I mentioned this to a colleague who added that he knew of a new gin distillery in South Boston, which wasn’t really what I meant by manufacturing, but whatever floats your boat.