U.S. manufacturing's next phase

Richard Daley and Bruce Katz’s Op-Ed in the LA Times caught our eye, highlighting the ever-changing nature of manufacturing, here and abroad:

Corporate cost calculations undergird the newfound appreciation of U.S. manufacturing. The offshoring of manufacturing was rooted in harsh economic realities: rock-bottom wages in nations such as China and the aggressive attraction and infrastructure strategies of foreign governments. Yet labor costs are rising in China, and concerns persist about the protection of American intellectual property there. Energy can be cheaper here, and more reliable. The tsunami in Japan, supplier of many high-tech components, revealed the fragility of far-flung supply chains for many U.S. companies.

As corporations reevaluate their bottom lines, national leaders must reassess the critical role of manufacturing. Its jobs pay 20% more on average than non-manufacturing work and are more likely to provide benefits. It employs a disproportionately high number of less-educated workers and tends to spark job growth in service-based industries. And, in the words of Andrew Liveris, chairman and CEO ofDow Chemical Co.: “Where manufacturing goes, innovation inevitably follows.”

This is a refreshing antidote to the often one-dimensional coverage of our industry in the news media. Look for more innovation in domestic manufacturing in the years to come.

Eagle Technologies Group is an industry leader in the design and implementation of factory automation systems worldwide.

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