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Manufacturing: The Move of Jobs Overseas

The title to this post may spark a fierce anger and a deep pain in the hearts of many Americans. How many times do we have to hear about jobs being sent overseas? We know labor is cheaper on the other side of the world and that it’s tough for American workers to compete with what workers from other countries are willing to put up with. To be real, how many of you are willing to sleep, eat and work all in the same building for pay that is seemingly cruel to what we are used to here in the U.S.? I’d be willing to wager that those willing make up the minority. It’s just a fact we have to deal with today. However, that’s not the kind of overseas job movement we’re talking about here. We’re talking about jobs moving overseas back to the United States.

It’s an interesting twist and for many Americans it sounds a tad odd. Factory jobs are moving from other countries back to the U.S.? It gives me great pleasure to say, “why yes, in fact that are.” According to the Wall Street Journal, many companies that migrated their work overseas away from the U.S. are starting to “reshore” parts of their operations. In other words, jobs that were given to workers in Chinese plants are now starting to migrate back over to workers in the U.S.

Spark News has certainly talked about manufacturing jobs before and how sending the work overseas wasn’t always about money. Of course, the labor was initially cheaper, but there were other reasons at play as well. At the core of these other reasons was work ethic. When you compare the work ethic of Americans to the work ethic of the people living in countries that thrive on manufacturing, such as China, you can see a big difference. For one, we have strict laws that cater to our health, well-being and treatment at work. Other countries don’t follow or have such rules. You can work long, grueling hours and get paid next to nothing for it. You can reign workers in at a moment’s notice no matter the time. In America, that kind of thing just doesn’t really fly.

Though companies such as Apple gave so many reasons for moving their manufacturing overseas, it seems as though many companies are starting to realize that the pay-off is no longer that great. As was somewhat expected, or hoped, Asian wages are on the rise. It’s no longer acceptable for these workers to earn next to nothing for 12 to 14 hours of hard work. At the same time, the cost of shipping is increasing as well. As a result, company owners are starting to see that the advantages of moving their jobs and manufacturing overseas are not as great anymore.

In fact, the article highlighted that close to 25,000 companies were already brought back over the past years and that out of 105 companies surveyed, 39 percent are considering reshoring, or returning to the U.S. Of course, that doesn’t mean that there will be a huge spike in manufacturing jobs returning to the U.S. right away, but it’s certainly a start. Companies will no doubt turn to other countries for cheap labor and cheap costs still, but the WSJ says that it is no longer the default option.

SOURCE: The Street
IMAGE: Courtesy of MFG

Nicole Nicholson

Nicole is the Content Editor for Spark Hire and mainly writes for and edits the work for the Spark News blog. She graduated in 2010 with a BA in Journalism from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She has a passion for writing, editing, and pretty much anything to do with content. In her free time she frequents the Chicago music scene and writes reviews on shows for her own personal blog. Connect with Nicole and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter

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