High technology manufacturing jobs are growing in the U.S., according to recent research from Jones Lang Lasalle. Domestic manufacturing growth is expected to grow at a rate of 0.7 percent per year through 2018. Reasons for bring tech manufacturing back included:
- Offshoring prices have dramatically increased from the rise in manufacturing labor costs in countries like China.
- Some manufacturers may not feel their intellectual property is safe if production is outside the U.S., since tech production is highly competitive.
- Issues during the early stages of production can be easily solved when manufacturing is located close to product engineers and designers.
- Tech companies can more readily address consumer needs if they are closer to their consumer market.
Manufacturing has become more technical, and highly skilled workers are required for most factory positions. Companies may be able to find more workers with the necessary skills, and managers can maintain a high degree of quality control.
Obstacles to high-tech manufacturing
Although JLL found there was a higher level of regionalization of technology manufacturing in the U.S., companies may face barriers to reshoring production. The U.S. manufacturing workforce is aging, and fewer numbers of younger workers are entering the industry, according to Manufacturing Business Technology. Since production is highly technical, workers may not have the right skills. Companies need to consider whether they can hire enough skilled employees when considering reshoring.
The JLL study revealed technology manufacturing is growing rapidly in particular regions, such as Silicon Valley and Austin. Many metropolitan areas have high numbers of skilled technical workers who are suited for manufacturing positions. Some firms are willing to relocate to areas with higher property costs because of the access to skilled workers.