Can we bring manufacturing back from overseas?

Adriene Hill Jan 25, 2012

Adriene Hill: According to the New York Times, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs reportedly told the president last year that Apple jobs — making iPhones, Ipads and Macs — weren’t coming back. Apple yesterday announced massive earnings for the end of last year. But it’s success hasn’t turned into a domestic job rush.

For more on why and what it says about our economy, we turn to Jared Bernstein. He’s a former White House economic advisor.

Jared Bernstein: Good morning.

Hill: So why doesn’t a company like Apple create more jobs in the U.S.?

Bernstein: Well because the infrastructure for consumer electronics — particularly the assembly for consumer electronics — for many decades, has been building up in Asia. And they just have a robust, flexible supply chain there that we simply don’t have when it comes to consumer electronics.

Hill: Now what does that tell us more broadly about the structure of the economy here?

Bernstein: It tells us that the structure of many of these kinds of production or assembly jobs has left the country for other economies — particularly emerging economies — that strategically planned and placed themselves right at the heart of what has been a burgeoning source of economic demand; in a sense we kind of let that go.

Hill: Now how optimistic are you then that the president can actually achieve the goals that he laid out in the State of the Union last night, to bring some manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.?

Bernstein: Well I actually think you can be somewhat optimistic, not in terms of consumer electronics, but think about clean energy. And in fact, the Asian example is instructive. We have to think about creating a supply chain, being ready to meet the burgeoning global demand for clean energy that everyone knows is coming.

Hill: Former White House economics advisor Jared Bernstein. Thanks.

Bernstein: You’re welcome.

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