Aerospace manufacturing has rebounded in the United States with more than $25 billion in investments since 2012.
The consulting firm ICF International released its study analyzing more than 2,000 investment transactions. It showed production jobs and manufacturing work that had been moving to China and other markets, have been moving to the U.S. over the last three years.
ICF aviation consultant Kevin Michaels calls the move “rightshoring,” as relative costs in the U.S. have come more in line with China. He credits that with more automation in factories, lower energy costs and rising wage rates in China.
"The U.S. has been a magnet for new aerospace investment," Michaels said. "Boeing is looking at doing more of the aero structures in its own factories."
Boeing (IW 500/13), working to keep costs to a minimum, has cut back on what it outsources to make its new 787 Dreamliner, moving more of the production in-house. Meanwhile, rival Airbus (IW 1000/47), along with investment from other foreign companies, is opening a production line plant in Alabama, creating 1,000 new jobs. The first new plane is expected to roll off the line in 2016.
The new work is making an impact in several parts of the U.S., according to Business Insider. Along with the Pacific Northwest and Alabama, Florida wants a piece. State leaders are talking up its proximity to five major aircraft facilities, military bases, along with the hundreds of aerospace and defense companies already in the state, and the tens of thousands of potential employees with experience in aerospace work.
Other countries are still big players in the industry and that won’t change, according to Michaels, who noted China’s huge workforce and Mexico’s importance as a supplier of parts.
But when it comes to new investment in the field he said, "The U.S. at this point in time has become the hot spot in aerospace manufacturing. Three years ago it looked like everything was heading to China. Now that's changed."