A.T. Kearney

Study Shows Manufactured Imports Outpacing Reshoring

Dec. 16, 2014
Imports of foreign manufactured goods are outpacing reshoring, according to a new study from A.T. Kearney.

Imports of foreign manufactured goods are outpacing reshoring, according to a new study from A.T. Kearney.

While manufacturing production has been growing in the U.S., the study found that imports of offshored manufactured goods have been outpacing gains in domestic production. A.T. Kearney said the reshoring index, which tracks manufactured goods flows over the past 10 years to show the ratio between U.S. manufacturing imports and gross output, likely will show a year-over-year decline in 2014 reshoring, lower by 20 basis points from 2013.

"While the so-called reshoring trend has helped improve the mood of U.S. manufacturing since the recession, the reality is that the import value of manufactured goods into the U.S. from 14 low-cost Asian countries has grown at an average of 8% per year in the last 5 years," said Pramod Gupta, an A.T. Kearney principal and study co-author.

Among the study’s major findings:

  • The top three reshoring industries, as measured by the number of cases in A.T. Kearney's database, are electrical equipment, appliance and component manufacturing, with 15% of the cases; transportation equipment manufacturing, with 15%; and apparel manufacturing, which previously had not been expected ever to come back, with 12%.
  • Improvement in delivery time was the top reason cited by executives for reshoring, with quality improvement a close second and brand/image third.
  • While there has been an overall rise in U.S. manufacturing since 2009, imports of offshored manufactured goods into the U.S. have increased at a faster rate than the return of manufacturing operations to U.S. soil.
  • Imports of manufactured goods from the 14 top offshoring locations (China, Taiwan, Malaysia, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia) amounted to a combined $630 billion in 2013.
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Steve received his B.A. in English from Oberlin College. He is married and has two adult children.

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