Is it getting easier to find products made in the U.S.?

A welder at work in Park Tool’s HQ near St Paul, Minn. (File/Molly Bloom/MPR News)

“Since 2010, U.S. manufacturers have added 665,000 jobs. Now some economists say that doesn’t mean much. Manufacturing lost nearly 7 million jobs in the 30 years before that, so historically this could be just a blip. They expect job losses will soon continue in the long, sad story about the decline of manufacturing jobs in America,” writes NPR’s Chris Arnold.

But others aren’t so sure that’s the right way to look at it.

“I think that’s an old story,” says Barry Bluestone, an economist at Northeastern University in Boston. He’s been studying the 7,000 manufacturing businesses in Massachusetts, surveying hundreds of them and making site visits to dozens.

“We’re seeing a new, almost renaissance in manufacturing,” he says. Bluestone says manufacturers are learning new technologies, and new manufacturing technologies are being developed at major universities. Nanotechnology, for example, holds great promise for cutting-edge U.S. manufacturing firms, he says.

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Today’s Question: Is it getting easier to find products made in the U.S.?

  • Sue de Nim

    Not that I’ve noticed.

  • Valhalla

    It may be getting easier to buy US made products, but that doesn’t mean that everybody is buying them. We need to break people of the ‘Wal-Mart Effect’, where cheaper is always better. That being said, I strongly support buying American when I can, even if it costs more.

  • JQP

    Its pretty hard when most “American products” are basically assembled in America from parts/pieces made in or supplied by companies in foreign countries anyway.

  • Rich in Duluth

    Maybe.

    I think it’s a fad. ABC News has made a big deal of it with an ongoing story and, ever since, I’ve seen Menard’s and several other stores advertising Made in U.S.A. products.

    But, this is a capitalist society. The bottom line controls the behavior of companies and individuals. There is no way a living wage in the U.S. can compete with a living wage in a country with a lower standard of living. Maybe some U.S. products can compete due to lower shipping cost, but that can probably be made up, by foreign producers, in volume. Maybe robots or technology can bring some manufacturing back to the U.S., but that doesn’t help manufacturing jobs.

    I think the U.S. should focus on engineering, research, design, development, medicine,
    infrastructure improvements, agriculture, and the education to support these industries.

  • Jeff

    I don’t care if a product is made in the US, the key thing is the product of good quality and good price. So many people get hung up on the idea that we should buy local but in reality that’s the same sort of protectionist logic that made the great depression so “great”. Some places will simply be better at creating certain products, I won’t hold that against them.

  • Wally

    As trillions in debt–under Democans and Republicrats–turn the USA into a Third World Country, production jobs will return to our shores, and Chinese officials will be complaining about “jobs lost to cheap American labor.” And we’ll be able to buy all the the “Made in USA” stuff we desire.

  • Gordon near Two Harbors

    I really can’t tell. I do know that the fools who decimated the manufacturing sector of the American economy by passing so-called “free trade” agreements should be tried for treason. Even the simplest mind could reason that those agreements were only meant to benefit the owners of American businesses by using cheap, foreign labor to replace more expensive American labor.

    The results have been the decline of the American middle class and industrial base, and the strengthening and enrichment of China.