Monday, August 29, 2016
VOLUME -24 NUMBER 2
Publication Date: 02/1/2009
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ARCHIVE >  March 2012 Issue >  Tech-Op-Ed > 

2012: The Big Comeback Year?
Jacob Fattal, Publisher
Is this the year of decisive recovery for our economy? There are certainly some strong indicators out there. Unemployment in the USA has gone down to its lowest point in years, yet there are still many millions of willing workers who don't have jobs. The domestic electronics industry has been a shining example of recovery, with a surprisingly large number of jobs coming back to the USA from foreign shores. While this influx is significant, so far it hasn't really hurt any of our overseas manufacturing partners. And for what it's worth, the Dow is at its highest level since before the recession began.

Much of this manufacturing influx is part of a "Made in USA" movement to EMS providers. It started several years ago when European companies found it cheaper to manufacture in the US because of the cheaper dollar. Now that the Euro is in so much trouble, the only strong currency that's left is the Yen.

Most domestic EMS houses have been steadily increasing their production, adding new production lines and machinery. But at the same time, these same domestic providers maintain strong business ties with offshore suppliers who are capable of much higher volumes, when the need arises. Yet high volumes can return to the US at any time. The production capacity can be increased fairly quickly, sometimes only requiring changing from one shift to two shifts a day.

It isn't all about the return of contract manufacturing. Some companies are simply finding domestic manufacturing is actually cheaper and less of a hassle. And it can circumvent all those trips to China to try to straighten out manufacturing problems. One company, Element Electronics, is reportedly starting a new TV production line near Detroit. While this may not be the electronics manufacturing center of the country, not too many years ago, Zenith TVs were made in Michigan. A March startup is planned, and it will be the only company making TVs in the US. Will others follow? We're betting that they will, which will help make 2012 a banner comeback year.  

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