Marketplace.org recently spoke to Matt Turpin, a small electronics manufacturer in Baltimore. The reason for the interview was Turpin’s company Zentech has bucked conventional wisdom and actually relocated manufacturing work from Asia to the US:
“We’ve brought back probably four projects in the past two years,” he said. There are “probably 30 people associated with those projects.”
How’d he do it? First, “the level of automation has increased dramatically,” Turpin said. “What used to take two to three hours to build now can be built in under 10 minutes.”
So if products don’t require much labor, then cheap Chinese labor isn’t that important.
Second, labor in China isn’t so cheap anymore.
Those two factors mean the number of manufacturing jobs leaving the United States now equals the number of jobs coming back, roughly, and it’s been holding constant for the past year or so.