🏭🏗️ America Is Back in the Factory Business
New factories are rising in urban cores and rural fields, desert flats and surf towns. Much of the growth is coming in the high-tech fields of electric-vehicle batteries and semiconductors, national priorities backed by billions of dollars in government incentives. Other companies that once relied exclusively on lower-cost countries to manufacture eyeglasses and bicycles and bodybuilding supplements have found reasons to come home. Richard Branch, chief economist of the Dodge Construction Network, which tracks building projects, said that industry, along with EV battery companies, accounted for nearly half of all U.S. manufacturing construction starts in 2022, as measured in square footage.
Stanley Black and Decker Inc.’s chief executive, Donald Allan Jr., has also lauded the benefits of automation in U.S. plants. “You’ve gone from a situation where if you did a power tool assembly in China or Mexico, you might have 50 to 75 people on a line,” he said during a September investors event. “The automated solution that we’ve created in North Carolina, current version, has about 10 to 12 people on that line because of the high level of automation, and the 2.0 version looks like it’s going to get down to two to three people on the line.”