Manufacturing in the U.S. is
starting to make a comeback, and is poised for even bigger gains in the years
at least, is the way the optimists see it.
partly by more competitive labor and energy costs and companies' desire to
produce goods closer to their customers, the number of factory jobs has started
to rise after plunging for decades, edging up by about 600,000 over the past
four years to more than 12 million. Some U.S. companies are bringing jobs back
home, and foreign businesses are setting up shop. Newspapers are trumpeting
investments in American production, and advertisements—such as the nostalgia-drenched
Chrysler TV ad shown during the Super Bowl and featuring Bob Dylan —celebrate a
resurgent U.S. manufacturing sector.
"The economics of the
world are changing in favor of U.S. manufacturing," says Hal Sirkin, a
Chicago-based senior partner of Boston Consulting Group.
the case made by the bulls, but plenty of skeptics argue that there are lots of
reasons to doubt it. For all the positive trends and statistics, they cite
numbers pointing the other way. And, the skeptics argue, the U.S. government
needs to overhaul its policies and industry must invest more heavily before any
real change can happen.
With that in mind, here are
four reasons to bet on U.S. factories—and four reasons to be cautious.
for the full article in the Wall Street Journal.