Reshoring data from 2018 won’t be quite as rosy. The Reshoring Initiative estimates 131,000 jobs were added. “Why the decline?” said Moser: “The U.S. dollar is going up; there’s dysfunction in Washington; and there are ongoing trade disputes. Regardless of where you sit on tariffs their impact on some manufacturing sectors has been negative.” The aluminum and steel user sector has been hurt, said Moser, while the aluminum and steel producers and the appliance industry have prospered.
U.S. companies realize they can remain competitive if they remain onshore, Moser said. “Companies are becoming familiar with a broad range of factors, costs and risks, they had previously ignored. Understanding the reasons other companies have given for reshoring helps companies to determine whether those reasons apply to them also,” he said.
Businesses have also had negative experiences offshore, the Reshoring Initiative reported. Most of the issues are related to distance — freight, delivery and inventory. Others are country specific, such as rising wages, IP risk and political instability. Companies have consistently reported positive domestic factors more often, probably because the companies place more value on demonstrating the wisdom of their current reshoring decision than on what went wrong with their earlier offshoring decision.
“With 3 million to 4 million manufacturing jobs still offshore, as measured by our $500 billion/year trade deficit, there is potential for much more growth,” Moser concluded. “We call on the administration and Congress to enact policy changes to make the United States competitive again.”
Complete data for 2018 will be released in the spring.