Pennsylvania relocates jobs to China but catches no ‘elephants’

HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA) — Pennsylvania relocated 4,581 jobs in 2022, among a record 364,904 jobs relocated — or brought back to the United States from other countries — nationwide, according to a report released Friday. by the Reshoring Initiative, an organization that monitors and advocates for relocation.

The figures also include jobs created through so-called foreign direct investment, or FDI, such as when a Japanese or German automaker builds a factory in the United States.

The 4,581 jobs relocated to Pennsylvania were more than 30 other states, but significantly fewer than two of its neighbors: New York, which relocated 43,491 jobs in 2022, and Ohio, which relocated 29,561. These two states ranked #1 and #2 respectively in all of America.

A few big “elephants” drove the lopsided numbers in those states, said Harry Moser, president of the Reshoring Initiative. For example, New York and Ohio have successfully landed semiconductor factories – Micron in New York’s case, Intel in Ohio’s – which will each employ thousands of people.

Pennsylvania’s biggest catches in 2022 were 600 jobs – classified as FDI – at a new Shell chemical plant in Potter Township near Pittsburgh and 327 jobs, classified as relocation, added by Ann Arbor, Michigan Cabinetworks Group , according to figures from the Reshoring Initiative provided to CBS News.

Moser cited The Rodon Group — a plastic injection molding company in Hatfield, near Philadelphia, that better-known consumer products companies contract out to produce their goods — as a success story in relocation.

Michael Araten, president of Rodon, said Lincoln Logs, produced for toy company Hasbro, is an example. Hasbro wanted to make the toy in America.

“So we found a Maine company to do the lumber,” Araten said. “We found companies in our area, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, to do the other aspects of the production.”

After decades of shifting manufacturing to counties with cheaper labor, why are some companies doing the work in America again?

Both Moser and Araten said some companies found they weren’t saving as much as they thought, considering costs like shipping and import duties, as well as what Araten called the “hidden cost” of companies having to over-order overseas to avoid running out of products. due to long delivery times.

“Think about the holiday season,” Araten said. “You want a product. It’s a hot sale. If you ordered from overseas, you’re done – you can’t get any more. If you order it from me, you can get it next week.”

Araten calls himself a “patriotic capitalist”. He said American companies should make what they can in America, which he conceded is not as much for some companies as it is for others.

“If every business owner does their best here, we’re a stronger country,” he said. “For some companies it will be 100%. We’re pretty close to 100%. Some companies might only be 20%, but anything above zero helps.”

Moser said the pandemic and current geopolitical tensions have also contributed to the relocation.

Companies that make essential supplies like masks, he said, will never again want to have as little control over their supply chains as they realized during the pandemic. And he said the war between Russia and Ukraine — and tensions between China and Taiwan — have convinced companies they need to insure against what might happen next.

“So if companies want to survive, they have to have that insurance, be willing to pay a little more to produce and source from here in the United States instead of continuing to depend on China,” Moser said.

Despite recent reshoring trends, the United States still imported far more in 2022 than it exported: $318 billion in imports versus $250 billion in exports, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis , leaving a trade deficit of $67 billion.


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