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American Manufacturing Makes A Comeback: Charles Fishman On NPR
Economics | January 04, 2013

American Manufacturing Makes A Comeback: Charles Fishman On NPR

After years of sending manufacturing jobs overseas, Charles Fishman says that we are now starting to move in the reverse direction. We are now seeing a return of industry to the West and an increasing number of products are now being made In America. In a recent interview with NPR, Fishman expands on the material he covered in his popular Atlantic cover story. He explains that there has been an increase in the number of companies that have moved their manufacturing out of China and Mexico and back to America according to a new report. While Fishman attributes part of this increase to a normal economic cycle, he also says that the move toward insourcing has indeed played a role in creating more jobs.

"Some really smart companies are understanding that they don't save very much money, if any money at all, by making things overseas and they put themselves at a disadvantage [by doing so]," Fishman says. He uses General Electric's decision to move to insourcing as an example of this idea in action. Although labor costs are still generally less expensive overseas, it has become a much smaller part of the overall cost of bringing a product to market. As workers become more productive and technology enables us to make products much faster, cheaper labor becomes less important to saving money on production. He explains that the money companies save on overseas labor is not enough to justify the money they spend shipping the product back home—and the time it takes to receive the finished product.

While Fishman has recently focused on how this trend is affecting the manufacturing sector and the economy as a whole, he is also a trusted voice on issues regarding water consumption and its impact on the economic and political future of the planet. His book, The Big Thirst, was the bestselling book on water in America in the past 25 years. In his keynotes, he discusses why he believes water issues will define this century and explains the way that the production of goods and services in North America is dramatically changing.
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