Manufacturing may be on its way back

Cliff Schliecher removed a machined part from a lift Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013 at Kurt Manufacturing in Fridley: Is the manufacturing revival real, or just temporary?
MPR Photo/Jennifer Simonson

American manufacturing is enjoying something of a revival, thanks to lower energy costs in the United States and rising labor costs in China. But experts are divided: Is this a true revival, or just a short-term boom?

Factors like lower American energy costs and higher Chinese wages have caused something of a revival in American manufacturing. Falling energy costs in particular have been a boon for manufacturing, thanks in part to the rise in fracking. By 2015, prices for natural gas are projected to be 60 to 70 percent lower, and electricity is projected to be 40 to 70 percent cheaper in the U.S. than in Europe and Japan.

But what would happen to American manufacturing if energy costs here were to spike? And the question people have been asking for years remains: Where are the jobs?

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