Following years of pain for America’s manufacturing sector and its workers, some economists and analysts are wondering if the tide may be turning according to multiple reports including one today May 7, 2012 in the CNBC ‘Small Business’ section.

Call it “re-shoring” or “rebalancing” or just “revenge,” but the dynamics of global labor, transportation and productivity costs that eviscerated American manufacturing over the past decade have begun to shift again.

Over the past few years, some key American manufacturers have either brought jobs back to the US from Asia and Latin America, or have made important decisions not to relocate them in the first place.

Compelling, anecdotal stories have included:

  • Caterpillar is building a $120 million plant to make giant earth movers in Victoria, Texas, including some models that were previously built in Japan and shipped back to North American customers.
  • Master Lock, in Milwaukee, made a decision earlier this year to bring 300 jobs back from China.
  • General Electric reversed a decision to build a new “green” refrigerator plant in Asia. GE decided to invest $93 million in refurbishing a plant in Bloomington, Indiana, saving 700 jobs.
  • Close to home, there was a great story in this week’s Crain’s Cleveland Business about local motorcycle designer / manufacturer Cleveland CycleWerks bringing the manufacturing of their bikes home. Formerly manufactured in China, the motorcycles will soon be produced in a 60,000 ft. factory recently acquired according to Scott Colosimo, head of the company.
  • Whirlpool has also decided to break ground on a manufacturing facility here in the United States. They will be constructing a new $200 million plant in Cleveland (sorry – not the home town – Cleveland, Tennessee) rather than send the 1,500 jobs overseas.

As a company that provides internet marketing support to manufacturing companies, I could not be more pleased than continuing to see these kinds of stories make the news.