Following the lead of Apple and Lenovo, Motorola Mobility has announced it will bring some manufacturing back to the United States. More specifically, it will build its Moto X smartphone at a plant in Fort Worth, Texas, that formerly was used by Nokia.
The move is expected to create 2,000 jobs, according to The Associated Press.
The Moto X is to be its first smartphone designed entirely under the leadership of the company’s new owner: Google. A Washington Post story poses the possibility that it’s a move to smooth the outcry over U.S. jobs being sent overseas – and Google has been at the forefront of lobbying to allow more skilled immigrants into the country. So there could be an agenda here. The Post argues that bringing jobs to an influential state is a good way to gain support.
The story also quotes Dennis Woodside, Motorola Mobility’s CEO, as saying:
“Doing that work of actually assembling the phone close to home will allow us to fix things faster, innovate faster.”
These back-in-the-USA manufacturing projects admittedly are small potatoes compared to the overall amount of manufacturing these companies do.
A piece at InfoWorld looks at the high-tech manufacturing coming back to the United States and sees these reasons:
- The savings from offshoring aren’t what they used to be.
- Keeping production at home helps companies better protect intellectual capital.
- Keeping executives, designers and engineers together improves collaboration.
- Being close to customers allows for quicker response to their needs.
- Companies are more likely to find the skilled workers they need as manufacturing becomes more high tech.
A report from real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle says the export of U.S. technology manufacturing jobs has peaked, though job growth won’t be huge in the United States, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Manufacturing jobs are expected to rise to 1.094 million by 2018 from 1.03 million positions in 2012. That’s down from 1.8 million in 2000.
The bulk of the tech manufacturing job growth is expected to be in Silicon Valley. The JLL report predicts nearly 6,000 new positions will be added there in the next five years.