Manufacturing likely to continue steady growth

Over the past few months, the U.S. manufacturing industry has seen steady gains in production and factory output, and lower energy costs due to the natural gas boom have made keeping production in North America more attractive. While some have talked about a "manufacturing renaissance," it is more likely that the industry will grow at a slower but continuous pace, according to Time. Though there may not be an immediate dramatic rise in production, many firms may be able to increase hiring, which could place manufacturing recruiters in high demand.

"We are probably the most competitive basis than we've been in the past 30 years," Jeff Immelt, General Electric CEO, told Time. "Will U.S. manufacturing go from 9 percent to 30 percent of all jobs? That's unlikely. But could you see a steady increase in jobs, over the next quarters and years? I think that will happen."

The prices of operating overseas have increased to a level that is prohibitive for companies. Businesses have other expenses to consider besides labor, and need to account for transportation charges, packing and energy consumption. All of these factors can drive total cost of ownership up when companies shift manufacturing to other countries, according to ThomasNet. Energy-intensive operations in particular are experiencing a dramatic surge in reshoring. Since shale gas has become more available in the U.S., many companies can lower energy expenses in their onshore facilities. The abundant shale has even attracted foreign manufacturers seeking to decrease energy costs. 

Reshoring gaining a foothold
Many high profile companies like GE and Apple are bringing production back to the U.S., according to Forbes. GE brought manufacturing of some of its high end appliances back to American soil, and was able to lower both production costs and sticker price while also decreasing the travel time from the factory and warehouse to the store. Meanwhile, Apple shifted the manufacturing of iPhone screens and components to the U.S. In addition, to minimizing expenses, bringing production back home allows companies to have greater control over quality management.

According to Time, every dollar spent on manufacturing generates $1.48 in wealth, so there is an economic advantage to keeping manufacturing in the U.S. Labor statistics often underestimate the importance of manufacturing because job creation that arises in relation to factory production. While manufacturing employs 9 percent of Americans, it accounts for 67 percent of research and development spending. Manufacturing seems likely to increase at a steady rate, and firms can consult staffing agencies to find qualified applicants.