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What Do These Companies Have in Common?

two men manufacturing parts on a production line

What do these companies have in common?

  • Linamar
  • Jacob Holm                                                                    
  • Reich                                                                                              
  • Plasticard Locktech
  • GE Aviation

If the names sound familiar, they should!  Not only are all of these companies located in Buncombe County, they’re all manufacturers either expanding their built environments, their product lines or both.  The net result: they’re all hiring!

So is manufacturing really making a comeback?  According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2012 (the most recent year for which data is available) manufacturing was 12.5 percent of GDP.  “For every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, another $1.32 is added to the economy, the highest multiplier effect of any economic sector.”  And the offshoring of manufacturing jobs we’ve seen over the last two decades has started to reverse trend and return home, bringing those jobs with it.  This reshoring is one of several factors suggesting a boost to the U.S. manufacturing economy.

Why?  The boom in domestic production of natural gas has lowered manufacturing costs and; while it may be good news for the Chinese middle class that there finally is a middle class enjoying a long overdue rise in wages, it hasn’t boded nearly as well for the Chinese economy as a whole.  According to the Boston Consulting Group, ‘China’s manufacturing cost advantage over the United States is projected to shrink to just 5% by 2015 for many goods currently exported to North America.  At the same time, the percentage of U.S. goods being exported is at higher levels than we’ve seen in the past 50 years.

According to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) “manufacturers in the United Sates are the most productive in the world, far surpassing the worker productivity of any other major manufacturing economy.”    Finally, keep in mind that in his State of the Union address in January President Obama wasn’t 45 seconds into his speech before announcing the creation of six new high tech hubs designed to spur the growth of the manufacturing sector while increasing the number of well-paying middle class jobs in America.  One of those institutes, designed to develop more energy efficient semiconductor technologies for cars and consumer technologies is now located in Raleigh.  So I’d say: “Yes, Virginia, manufacturing really is making a comeback.”


Nancy Troxler,

Coordinator, Occupation and Skilled Trades