This past week our company was awarded one of the 10 outstanding businesses by the Cleveland County Chamber of Commerce. That is quite a compliment coming from arguably the most progressive county in the State of North Carolina.
Over the past 2 years, our County has been a haven for large businesses. This past year, over 3 billion dollars in new businesses moved into the State of NC. Of that number, 1/3 moved into Cleveland County. These include such noted companies as Facebook is relocating their business here, AT&T who is engaged in a major data center in the County, as well as Walt Disney World’s data center. Also in the area is the Hurst (of the “The Jaws of Life fame”, Indian Motorcycles, and many others. The qualities of life as well as being near a major transportation and banking centers all contribute to the progressiveness of the County.
Notwithstanding the influx of business into this area, it is projected that the US as a whole will be coming once again back on track in terms of manufacturing. Although in the past we have all seen a major egress of manufacturing to China and other Far East countries, this will soon be making a turn around, and is already.
As labor rates in China continue to rise by 10 to 20% per year, the economics of manufacturing in that country are taking its toll. Many find it more enticing to move back to the US, in spite of the overall wages here being higher at this point. Of course there are other factors involved such as transportation costs from the Far East to the US, and the time it takes to deliver goods here, which might be as long as 2 – 3 weeks.
It is noted that, also in NC, a new factory is being set up to produce laptop computers, something that in recent years was solely done in the Far East. Who is putting in this factory? No, it will not be owned by a US company but by a Chinese company. Hiring will be Americans, and of course the company would be responsible for US federal and local taxation, assisting our economy. Other firms such as GE are looking to reinvest in America by manufacturing here once again. Apple Computer, noted for producing its goods in China, recently indicated it would build a manufacturing facility in the US.
From our perspective, these changes in manufacture locations cant help but help increase the US economic production, and provide much needed jobs to this country.
On a local note, NC has historically been the textile center of the US. Over the past decades, this industry too has been affected greatly by the relocation of factories to the Far East; few of the textile mills remain here in NC. The loss in terms of jobs was dramatic, with thousands upon thousands being put out of work. There is a proposed Pacific Trade agreement in the US Congress that would allow free trade with several Pacific Rim countries that would further hurt our remaining textile industry by allowing Far East countries to purchase fabric from China, and make garments in individuals homes, and further allow them to import such finished goods to America.
As one textile mill put it, we can compete with anyone on a level playing field, but the proposed bill makes it a big problem for us (I am paraphrasing the comments). Our government could assist in this area by keeping in mind the thousands who have lost their jobs and are on government assistance. Surely it would be better for our Congress not to pass such as bill.
Lynn Burkhart is the founder and president of Controlled Release Technologies, Inc. located in Shelby, North Carolina. More information about the company, and its products, can be found at http://www.cleanac.com and by calling (800) 766-9057.