Which regions are leading the U.S. manufacturing recovery?

Are the days of U.S. manufacturing firms shipping jobs overseas coming to an end? At the very least, this practice may be slowing down, if recent economic data is any indication.

Are the days of U.S. manufacturing firms shipping jobs overseas coming to an end? At the very least, this practice may be slowing down, if recent economic data is any indication.

For example, many southern states have seen new investment in their manufacturing sectors, leading to thousands of new jobs. In Tennessee, the Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro area has seen its manufacturing employment increase by 23.9 percent since 2009, thanks to the growing presence of Japanese and German auto firms and new Bridgestone tires plants. In Charleston, South Carolina, Boeing has expanded its aerospace supply presence.

One of the reasons why the U.S. has become so much more attractive to manufacturing investment is falling domestic energy prices. Houston, Texas, which is near many successful oil and natural gas operations, is also home to the third-largest concentration of manufacturing jobs in the country. the 257,300-strong industrial workforce has expanded by nearly 20 percent since 2009.

As high-tech manufacturing becomes a more important aspect of the sector, it should come as little surprise that demand for an educated, skilled workforce is heavily influencing domestic industry development. Since Houston also ranks sixth among major metro areas with the most engineers per capita, it has become a leader in technology-driven manufacturing.

As new opportunities for domestic manufacturing increase, state governments are working hard to incentivize the growth of CNC machine shops and other critical aspects of the industry. It is important for policymakers to continue to pursue business-friendly policies that will support continued job growth and strengthen the economies of these regions.