The Manufacturing Comeback


It's increasingly hard to miss since Obama's first year. Here's one take on why:

States such as Alabama are aggressively courting local and international manufacturers. They are dangling tax breaks and other lucrative incentives to attract companies — and in turn are generating industry jobs and boosting their revenue. The federal government's bailout of the auto industry in 2009 saved General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) and Chrysler from bankruptcy and helped propel American automakers to improved sales, record profits and more hiring.

Rising expenses in China are another big reason domestic factory work has heated up considerably in the last 12 months. As labor and raw material costs skyrocket, more American companies are bringing production back home. One example is WindStream Technologies, which makes small wind turbines. WindStream opened a facility in North Vernon, Ind., last year so it could move production out of China. The change eliminated overseas shipping and travel expenses and helped lower production costs by 10% for each turbine.

A fluke?

It’s too earlier to claim victory with the current recovery in the manufacturing sector, but it is the the first positive slope since mid-1990′s.