Front Page Talking Points

FOR THE WEEK OF OCT. 17, 2022

Welcome trend: More factory jobs return to U.S. after being moved overseas

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Here's good economic news: A rising number of U.S. companies are bringing operations back home after moving some manufacturing jobs overseas. A recent report says U.S. firms created 349,000 manufacturing jobs in 2021 — the most in nearly 30 years. This trend is called "re-shoring" (restoring jobs that had moved offshore), and includes work making electric vehicle batteries, solar energy panels, pharmaceutical drugs and semiconductor chips for electronic devices.

Samsung, Intel, Micron and Texas Instruments recently announced plans for new U.S. chip factories. Another firm, Qualcomm, plans to increase domestic chip production by 50 percent over the next five years. General Motors is building new-generation battery plants in Ohio, Michigan and Tennessee, while Ford is doing so in Kentucky and Tennessee. Toyota is erecting one in North Carolina and Stellantis is doing so in Indiana. Even a Chinese-owned company plans a $2.4-billion factory in Michigan, aiming to create 2,350 jobs in the next decade.

The main reasons are supply chain vulnerabilities exposed by the coronavirus crisis, Russia's war on Ukraine and China's instability. In addition, President Biden has pushed initiatives to boost domestic manufacturing, such as tax credits and other subsidies for companies like battery makers and semiconductor factories, and new federal purchasing requirements that benefit manufacturers located here.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare the vulnerabilities in America's domestic manufacturing base," says Brian Deese, an economic and trade adviser to the president. "The nation's reliance on globally fragmented supply chains has led to shortages of everything from personal protective equipment to semiconductors to shipping containers" and boosted prices, he adds. Re-shoring also is propelled by a dramatic drop in American natural gas prices, making the U.S. a highly desirable location for manufacturers relying on that energy source. "The result has been an historic recovery for the manufacturing sector," says Deese, who heads the White House's National Economic Council.

President says: "Resilient American supply chains will revitalize and rebuild domestic manufacturing capacity, maintain America's competitive edge in research and development, and create well-paying jobs."

Governor says: "Instead of depending on China for medicine, Taiwan for computer chips or Russia for fertilizer, we need to return the manufacturing of our products to America." – Pete Ricketts of Nebraska

White House official says: "Our economy is positioned to sustain robust growth in our domestic manufacturing sector into the years ahead. . . . This comeback is long overdue." -- Brian Deese, National Economic Council director

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2022

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Common Core State Standard
SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.