The large outsourcing of U.S. manufacturing jobs that began years ago continues today. Michigan, a furniture manufacturing center, lost thousands of manufacturing jobs in the last few years. North Carolina experienced a similar fate, as has every state in the U.S.
U.S. arena and theater seating manufacturers have in recent years outsourced and manufactured seating in third world countries, for example Mexico, China and Malaysia. However, Preferred Seating, located in Tennessee, is struggling upstream to supply theater seatingand arena seating manufacturing jobs here in the U.S. Preferred Seating wants to grow the business in the U.S., create jobs and contribute to the U.S. economy
The larger seating manufacturers who have the capital to build factories in third world countries make larger profit margins when they import seating parts from countries where labor and materials are less expensive. These companies argue that the public benefits from lower prices for their products. However, they sell their auditorium seating and theater seating for the same price as U.S. manufacturers, but make more profit. While these companies are making stronger sales, they are adding few jobs.
A seating manufacturer stated in “The Grand Rapids Press, Grand Rapids Michigan, Jan 23, 2005 the following:
“Absolutely, every company should be looking at China and offshore production, whether or not they actually do it. The good old days are just that – old, and the climate will never be the same. It’s now a global world where people don’t buy (just) from their country anymore. They buy the product that fits their needs, and a lot of it has to do with cost.”
While standards of living have increased as third world countries become more industrialized, they have fallen in developed countries. Was it not the industrialized revolution in the U.S. that contributed to the U.S. becoming a world power? Losing our manufacturing base will make us more vulnerable to those countries we are allowing to manufacture our products.
Many countries do not regulate their manufacturing practices with regards to energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, materials and resources. Abusive labor practices and lack of concern for the environment is more prevalent in third world countries that do not have in place environmental and workforce safety regulations. The U.S. government and American citizens are financially supporting these environmental and human rights abuses by purchasing products manufactured in these countries.
Lower wage, unskilled earners are affected the most. They do not have skills that can be applied to other jobs. Education, with the ability to change careers, is the key to survival. The only answer that political and business leaders have agreed to so far is the necessity of an educated, adaptable workforce. But who is going to pay for the massive reeducation of the dislocated labor force, taxpayers?
We may enjoy lower pricing for products. Companies will make more of a profit by outsourcing. However, in my opinion the cost and risk to America is too great for the short term benefits.
Author: Billie Sumner