- The U.S. regions abandoned by globalization are experiencing a slight resurgence in jobs, although they are different than the manufacturing jobs of old, various news outlets report.
- The U.S. will add roughly three times the number of jobs within the supply chain than it will lose within the next three years, per a recent SCM World survey. Made in China is now past, according to Forbes, as companies seek to produce closer to distribution centers to increase agility and reduce risk.
- For example, a Chinese auto-glass manufacturer now employs 2,000 people within a former General Motors plant, reports The Wall Street Journal; and a former Bethlehem Steel plant will soon be transformed into a warehouse, according to The Morning Call.
The long debate over whether trade and globalization is good for jobs in America may now have to weigh a new factor: supply chain agility.
In the age of globalization, the location of jobs often shifted depending on the price of production. It was more beneficial to establish an automobile manufacturing plant, for example, in areas with high skilled workers willing to produce at low labor costs, such as regions in Mexico. In addition, companies used to bundle together, like in Silicon Valley for technology or Detroit for automobiles, in order to ensure labor needs were met.
Many of these tenets remain true, but as e-commerce and the internet have decreased the need for inventory and increased the demand for just-in-time manufacturing, companies seek to decrease lead times through geographic advantages.
The shift does not mean the manufacturing jobs of old are reshoring, however. Speed and options for expedited transport continue to grow, so the first step in this supply chain shift is affecting mostly the warehousing, logistics and distribution centers.
Just like Detroit was once the automobile center of the world, Lehigh Valley is becoming a hub for warehouses. The effect is spreading across the nation, too: Los Angeles, Tennessee and Atlanta are also seeing significant growth in warehousing and distribution centers.