The state of U.S. manufacturing is a hot topic in national economic and political conversations today. Issues like tax reform, trade partnerships and regulations are fueling a national debate over how to create and retain U.S. manufacturing investment and jobs. Though a favorable business and tax climate is important to manufacturers, the most critical factor leading to location decisions for new investment and jobs is actually the labor market.
Thanks to technology advancements, manufacturing operations are much more automated today than they were decades ago. As a result, high-tech production processes that rely less on manual labor have made it possible to consider new investment in the U.S. over low-cost labor markets in countries like China. Automated production does not equate to zero jobs; instead it means that operations need more skilled labor in order to operate, maintain and retool technologically advanced equipment.