Commentary
3:25 pm
Wed May 2, 2012

What Goes Around...

One of the few nice things about growing old is that you experience a lot of history live. You don’t just have to take somebody’s word for it. 

And you get a chance to watch a lot of old adages come true. Like what goes around comes around.

In the last 45 years the Far East decimated the American furniture manufacturing industry. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs were lost, hundreds of factories closed.

First, the jobs went to Taiwan and Singapore for cheap labor. Then they wanted higher pay, so jobs moved to Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Then they wanted more money. The jobs moved to Mainland China. Now labor and other costs in China are rising.

Furniture jobs are coming back to the U.S. Ashley Furniture, America’s largest brand, two weeks ago announced a new three-million-square-foot facility in North Carolina. First for distribution, then manufacturing. Ultimately five-hundred-and-fifty jobs. And Ashley’s not the first.

In the ‘Seventies a few of us thought it might happen some day, but none of us thought we’d live to see it. We forgot that everything moves faster today.

Now, you and I may not see it, but a day’s coming when labor costs worldwide will level out.

 

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