Many Happy Returns: Why The Move To Bring Jobs Back To The U.S. Is A Boon To The Channel


On a gray September day in 2010 Dell shuttered its Raleigh, N.C., PC assembly plant and sent 905 manufacturing jobs south to Mexico. The move, at the time, was part of a $4 billion belt-tightening, according to Dell.

Fast forward three years, and 60 minutes west of Dell's closed plant some of those former Dell employees are back on the PC assembly line working for Lenovo. And in an ironic twist, Lenovo said those jobs, which are part of a new plant opening in Whitsett, N.C., this past June, are coming back from a Mexico-based PC manufacturing plant.

Dell also has brought jobs back to the U.S., bringing call-center jobs back from India to Idaho in 2008.

[Related: Lenovo's North Carolina Onshoring Effort: One Year Later]

Reshoring, onshoring, backshoring and job repatriation -- all buzzwords we hear when it comes to the trend of high-tech industry jobs headed back to the U.S. But is it all part of a patriotic feel-good story? Are the tables really being turned on staggering U.S. job losses to less- expensive labor overseas?

According to a 2013 survey by the Association Connecting Electronics Industries, 16 percent of the 92 U.S. high-tech firms interviewed said they already have returned a portion of their operations to North America in the past two years. An additional 14 percent said they were planning on moving operations from countries such as China and Mexico back to the U.S. by the end of 2014.

Manufacturing and product development will never return to the halcyon times of 1970s. But there are some indicators that reshoring is creating a new normal in the U.S. where more manufacturing and IT jobs are created here in the U.S. and not offshore.

Has the tipping point been reached? And how does the channel in particular stand to benefit?

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