Offshoring jobs and whether to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement have been hot topics in the primary election campaign, and the Reshoring Initiative’s 2015 Reshoring Report shows that rapid job loss has been stemmed, but there are still challenges in bringing back the 3 million to 4 million manufacturing jobs previously lost offshore. The report contains data on U.S. reshoring and foreign direct investment (FDI) by companies that have returned or added new U.S. production from offshore and includes cumulative data from 2007 to 2015, with detailed data for 2015.
Combined reshoring and FDI trends remained strong in 2015, adding 67,000 jobs and bringing the total number of manufacturing jobs from offshore to more than 249,000 since the manufacturing employment low of February 2010. The overall trend was off 6% from 2014 due to the strong dollar, low oil prices and shipping rates, and most competitor countries having weaker economies than the U.S. Recently, FDI has been stronger than reshoring.
For the second onsecutive year, the number of jobs returning to the U.S. remains on par or slightly higher than the number of jobs leaving. From 2000 to 2007, the U.S. lost about 220,000 manufacturing jobs per year to offshoring, and the steady decrease in the number of jobs lost per year, to zero or a net gain, continues to demonstrate that reshoring and FDI are important contributing factors to the country’s rebounding manufacturing sector.
“We publish this data annually to show companies that sourcing domestically is an increasing trend in the United States,” says Harry Moser, founder and president of the Reshoring Initiative. “With 3-to-4 million manufacturing jobs still offshore, as measured by our $500 billion per year trade deficit, we see potential for even more growth, and we hope this data will motivate more companies to reevaluate their sourcing and siting decisions.”
Companies cited lower quality, supply interruption (this category had the largest increase from last year), high freight costs, and delivery as leading problems offshore. Cumulatively, rising wages and total cost have been major drivers in reshoring decisions.
Regionally, the trend remained strongest in the Southeast and Texas, but in 2015, the West displaced the Midwest to hold second place for most jobs shifted from offshore.