Return of manufacturing could expand middle class workforce

08.20.2012


When Sierra Nevada chose Henderson County to build its new plant, it was clear that the manufacturing industry - when kept at home on American soil - is a major jobs creator.

According to Money Matters, Time magazine reported the global manufacturing industry makes up 17.4 percent of all output. Although the U.S. manufacturing sector took a major blow during the recession, as many look to lower costs and reorganize spending, they are finding that bringing work back home is more affordable.

This homecoming of manufacturing staffing has indirectly created a huge number of non-manufacturing jobs. According to information from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, every $1 of manufacturing GDP bring in $1.42 of GDP for industries outside manufacturing.

This, the media outlet states, has led to a widening middle class, which has in turn - through fortunate cyclical events - has bolstered manufacturing activity.

The growing number of manufacturing jobs can be traced back to a few key reasons. The Japanese tsunami in 2011 was an eye-opening event for several companies, whose supply chain was left tattered and did not recover for months. Such events have led companies to shorten their supply chain delivery times - accomplished through closer manufacturing activity.

According to the news source, the huge jump in transportation costs has also made it more efficient to bring manufacturing jobs back stateside. With the cost of a barrel of oil rising from $14 in 1998 to more than $90 in 2012, keeping manufacturing close is paying off.

The industry has undergone a serious change though that likely will not be reversed. Many of the jobs that are coming back from overseas require high-level skills and unique training. Welding, for example, has long been a learned trade. In the near future, it will likely lead to earning some form of accreditation to find a welding job, just to show a higher level of experience.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, this new form of manufacturing staffing, in which companies seek out workers with highly technical skills, will only grow in the near future. One sector that is popping up is the Instruments, Controls and Electronics (ICE) manufacturing industry, which requires specific knowledge of ICE products, including computers, lighting systems and electrical equipment.