“Ex Malo Bonum” is a Latin phrase that translates roughly to good things often come from bad situations. Today, it perfectly sums up the current state of the manufacturing industry. During the Great Recession, many companies went overseas for their prototype manufacturing needs, but the industry is now experiencing a new renaissance.
When the Great Recession hit in 2007, no industry was spared from its vicious attack on the nation’s economy. Aviation, healthcare, retail and financial institutions all lost hundreds of thousands of jobs. However, none was hit as hard as manufacturing.
During an 18-month period between 2007 and 2009, the U.S. manufacturing industry lost 2 million jobs, or 15 percent of its workforce. Companies — bobbing and weaving to protect themselves from the recession — significantly reduced their need for prototype manufacturing services or shipped their orders oversees in search of less expensive labor.
While it may seem ironic, the recession wasn’t a death sentence. Instead, it marked the start of something good.
The recession leveled the playing field for American manufacturing companies by making labor rates in the U.S. more competitive with those in foreign countries. It also forced the industry to work faster, better and more creatively, which has led to remarkable innovations and efficiency in CNC machining and prototype production. Furthermore, employees who didn’t have their careers knocked out by the recession proved to be among the best manufacturing professionals in the world.
By 2012, the industry was ready to make a comeback, which is exactly what it’s doing now. Manufacturing is coming home.
A study conducted by a Boston-based consulting firm showed that more than half of companies with sales of more than $1 billion annually planned to bring jobs back to the U.S. These companies are coming home because labor rates are competitive, the workforce is highly skilled and customers appreciate the proximity to their products. Plus, innovations like CNC machining and rapid prototyping are creating products faster and more precise than ever before.
If the Great Recession was a low-water mark for the industry, today is its renaissance. Be part of the revival by joining forces with PDS today.