Some offshored manufacturing jobs return to US
In the Media - 07/26/2015
Many modern manufacturing companies need to have engineers and designers close to production lines because of the complexity of products and the need to update them frequently to keep up with, or ahead of, increasingly fierce and global competition, said Barry Bluestone, professor of political economy and founding director of the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University.
Technological innovations have automated jobs, cutting labor costs while increasing productivity and making many US manufacturers competitive with companies in developing countries that pay workers less. Such advances, coupled with rising wages in places like China, mean companies can economically manufacture closer to US markets.
To take advantage of this trend, Massachusetts must tackle a particular challenge, Bluestone added. The state faces a labor shortage in manufacturing as baby boomers retire and fewer younger workers move into those careers. That shortage — estimated by Bluestone to be as many as 100,000 jobs by 2022 — needs to be addressed if the state plans to keep its manufacturing base alive.
“Two hundred fifty thousand jobs is nothing to sneeze at,” said Bluestone, referring to manufacturing employment in Massachusetts. “There’s a good-news manufacturing story, and reshoring has a part to play.”