Why U.S. Manufacturing Is Poised for a Comeback (Maybe)



Manufacturing in the U.S. is starting to make a comeback, and is poised for even bigger gains in the years ahead.

That, at least, is the way the optimists see it.

Driven partly by more competitive labor and energy costs and companies' desire to produce goods closer to their customers, the number of factory jobs has started to rise after plunging for decades, edging up by about 600,000 over the past four years to more than 12 million. Some U.S. companies are bringing jobs back home, and foreign businesses are setting up shop. Newspapers are trumpeting investments in American production, and advertisements—such as the nostalgia-drenched Chrysler TV ad shown during the Super Bowl and featuring Bob Dylan—celebrate a resurgent U.S. manufacturing sector.

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