Beginning in the 1970s America’s high-paying manufacturing jobs in the steel, textile, electronics and automotive industries relocated first south to Latin America and then east to Asia.
In what some dubbed “a global race to the bottom,” labor rights have dwindled all along the way and the American middle class, long sustained by those manufacturing jobs, finds itself gutted. Now the fate of what is left of the American middle class is at the center of a presidential election and forcing a reexamination of the impact of the global decline of labor rights.
But after years of pain for America’s manufacturing sector and its workers, some economists and analysts are wondering if the tide may be turning.
Call it “re-shoring” or “rebalancing” or just “revenge,” but the dynamics of global labor, transportation and productivity costs that eviscerated American manufacturing over the past decade have begun to shift again.
Over the past few years, some key American manufacturers have either brought jobs back to the US from Asia and Latin America, or have made important decisions not to relocate them in the first place.