As manufacturing jobs slowly but surely move back to our shores, we need to ask whether this is a good thing for American workers — or not.
Companies that offshored to save money are finding, for a variety of reasons including the simple fact that offshore workers are beginning to expect higher wages, that they aren’t saving as much as they had hoped.
Bringing manufacturing back, or reshoring, probably won’t result in a return to hundreds of highly-paid union jobs in factories in every town. Chances are good that increased automation will be needed to keep costs down where consumers want them to be.
The jobs that come back may be jobs for engineers, for makers of machinery, for highly skilled machine operators, for computer technicians and software designers, and for people who can handle big data — not for unskilled labor on assembly lines.
That’s what we’re seeing so far. In the past three years, want ads for skilled manufacturing jobs such as computer-aided machine operators, programmers, and skilled machinists have more than doubled in the United States.
3-D printing, nanotechnology, and other leading edge areas of manufacturing will continue to grow in importance.
What does this mean for the U.S. job market? Probably that retraining will be key. As Thomas Friedman pointed out in The World is Flat, the jobs of the 21st century will go to the flexible.
In the meantime, if you need Indramat support, call (479) 274-8422. We have the skill and the flexibility required to get you back up and running fast.