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Think reshoring is real? Think again!

There’s a lot of continued dialogue about the reshoring of manufacturing and U.S. jobs from low labor-cost countries. The detractors of this supposed phenomenon say that significant reshoring is merely anecdotal – not a trend. Perhaps that is truer than we’d like to believe.

Clare Goldsberry

August 14, 2013

2 Min Read
Think reshoring is real? Think again!

There’s a lot of continued dialogue about the reshoring of manufacturing and U.S. jobs from low labor-cost countries. The detractors of this supposed phenomenon say that significant reshoring is merely anecdotal – not a trend. Perhaps that is truer than we’d like to believe.   

In the most recent issue (July 31, 2013) of Manufacturing & Technology News, Richard McCormack, the publisher of the monthly newsletter, slapped readers in the face with the reality of continued outsourcing to foreign countries. McCormack got his information from a website that serves U.S. workers who have lost their jobs due to the impact of offshoring or international trade that has adversely affected them. The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) website contains information on how to apply for the various services and benefits offered (www.doleta.gov/tradeact/).
   
On the site there are also listings of petitions filed with the Department of Labor by companies, individuals and union heads to help laid-off employees obtain assistance. Benefits and services include training, career counseling, Trade Readjustment Allowances, health coverage assistance and job search allowances, and more.
   
Some of the filings that were listed in Manufacturing & Technology News included: Flextronics Americas (Stafford, TX) while will lay off 147 workers because their jobs are being transferred to Juarez, Mexico; Jabil (Tempe, AZ) will lay off more than 500 workers and move “several assemblies to other Jabil facilities in Mexico and Asia in order to reduce labor costs and meet our customers’ pricing expectations,” wrote Jabil HR Manager Dawn Tabelak in a July 15 TAA petition. Hewlett Packard’s customer service and technical support center in Conway, AR will lay off 500 employees due to “global restructuring.” 
   
Some of the petitions mentioned in McCormack’s newsletter were due to companies being bought and work shifted to foreign facilities; many of the jobs mentioned were IT jobs and call center positions that can be done from almost anywhere in the world. Some of the petitions cite cheaper imports from China and other Asian countries causing a decline in sales and thus the need to lay off workers.
   
Some 50 petitions were cited in McCormack’s newsletter, and from looking at the web site, that’s just a small fraction of the number of petitions filed for assistance due to the ongoing offshoring of manufacturing and U.S. jobs.
   
So, if we think we can rest easy because of the reshoring we’ve heard so much about, we need to think again. Offshoring is alive and well, and still impacting individuals and small companies who supply these larger entities that have the wherewithal to move anywhere in the world they believe will be advantageous to their business model.

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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