Manufacturing returns to US cities, but with a new focus

Jun 23, 2017

While the news is packed with mega corporate mergers and global trade wars, there is a renaissance of sorts in American manufacturing, especially in our urban areas. Cities and towns across America are finding an increase in manufacturing in places that perhaps once housed large traditional manufacturing plants and warehouses. A continued emphasis on all that is "local" — one that started with a focus on retro industries like microbreweries, coffee roasters, and small restaurants and farms — is propelling a new wave of manufacturing.

While we may not see a return of too many multi-thousand-employee factories, small niche manufactures are doing quite well, and growing. These factories are not trying to compete with mammoth factories in China pumping out commodities. Their success comes from innovative products sold at sensible margins using the latest technologies and productivity tools. A blast furnace and an engine lathe might not work in a dense urban neighborhood, but a 3-D printer and a quiet computer controlled machine tool may fit quite nicely.

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