Which raises a troubling but also thrilling prospect: the offshoring rush of the past decade or more—one of the signature economic events of our times—may have been a mistake.
More on that here.
I think it is great that manufacturing companies are seeing the value of being of close proximity to industrial supply lines, taking advantage of lean manufacturing techniques and benefiting from lower cost inputs that don’t involve labor. The product quality certainly benefits, but so do the employees and surrounding communities of these factories. There will be a tremendous amount of economic value added by the trend of in-sourcing however I don’t think it will be a boon for employment. Labor productivity will sky-rocket but capital, albeit whether from human capital or robots, will always trump a large manufacturing workforce. Today’s manufacturing jobs will be highly skilled, specialized and demand higher wages than previous manufacturing jobs before.