As manufacturers reshore jobs, some rely on contingent workers

As manufacturing companies begin to reshore, they will demand more laborers.

In recent years, manufacturing companies that previously moved operations facilities overseas are beginning to participate in what is being called "reshoring." In other words, they are reopening factories and hiring workers in the U.S., spurred in part by help from local CNC machining services, the promise of more affordable energy and a strong customer base. Rising wages in foreign countries have also prompted manufacturing companies to move elsewhere. 

A recent study by Reshoring Initiative found that 60,000 manufacturing jobs were added to the U.S. in 2014 from foreign countries. As only 50,000 jobs in the industry were estimated to have been outsourced, this amounts to one of the first instances of a net job increase in years.

"The trend in manufacturing in the U.S. is to source domestically," Reshoring Initiative founder and president Harry Moser told MarketWatch. "With 3 [million] to 4 million manufacturing jobs still offshore, we see huge potential for even more growth."

Of course, with more growth comes more demand for labor. This has been a problem for many companies in the manufacturing industry, as they increasingly require skilled labor that they are having trouble finding.

An article on Area Development noted that the sector has been seeking out more contingent workers as of late, since they allow for more flexibility.

"In 1990, 42 percent of the U.S. contingent workforce consisted of clerical workers, while 28 percent were manufacturing and industrial workers," said Becca Dernberger, vice president and general manager of Manpower's Northeast Division. "By 2000, those percentages had flipped, with 47 percent of the contingent workforce consisting of manufacturing and industrial workers, a trend that has remained consistent."

Contingent workers will not always satisfy the industry's need for skilled laborers, which is why it is important for local policymakers to invest in this area.