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Made in America, Again
Fourth Annual Survey of U.S.-Based Manufacturing Executives

December 2015

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Executive summary
Key takeaways from BCG’s fourth annual survey of U.S.-based manufacturing executives
1 Interest in reshoring production to the

U.S. remains strong, and the percentage
of companies actively moving operations
back to the U.S. continues to increase
2 The U.S. has surpassed China and is

outpacing Mexico as the most likely
destination for new manufacturing
capacity to serve the U.S. market
3 Key drivers of expanding manufacturing

capacity in the U.S. include costs, access
to a skilled workforce, and increased local
control to drive quality and innovation

4 Investment in automation and other

advanced manufacturing is seen as an
opportunity to further drive efficiency and
U.S. competitiveness
5 Prospects for job creation remain strong

• 17% of respondents report actively reshoring production today
– 2.5x the number that were actively reshoring in 2012
• More companies are moving from “consideration” to “action”
• 31% of executives would put new capacity to serve the U.S.
market in the U.S. versus 20% who would choose China
• Significant reversal from two years ago, when China was
favored by 30% to 26%
• Companies that are reshoring most often cite core cost
factors—shortening supply chains, reducing shipping costs—
as biggest reasons
• Access to a skilled workforce is also a key reason; 2.7x as
many respondents cite increased skilled labor as a driver for
moving production to the U.S. compared with those who cite it
as a reason for offshoring from the U.S.
• 56% believe that decreasing costs in automation have
improved their product competitiveness
• 71% believe that advanced manufacturing technologies will
improve the economics of localized production
• Executives who anticipate net job gains within the next five
years outweigh those predicting declines by a 2-to-1 margin
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Survey methodology
Since 2012, The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has conducted an annual online survey of seniorlevel, U.S.-based manufacturing executives. This year’s survey, conducted in September, elicited 263
responses. The responses were limited to one per company.
Virtually all of the respondents work for companies that manufacture in the U.S. and overseas and
make products for both U.S. and non-U.S. consumption. Respondents are decision makers in
companies with more than $1 billion in annual revenues, across a wide range of industries, including:
• Electronic and other electrical equipment and
components, except computer
• Transportation equipment
• Industry and commercial machinery
• Fabricated metal products, except machinery
and transport
• Chemicals
• Rubber and plastics products
• Primary metal industries
• Food products
• Computer equipment

• Petroleum refining and related industries
• Apparel and other finished products made from
fabrics and similar material
• Lumber and wood products, except furniture
• Printed products
• Stone, clay, glass, and concrete products
• Furniture and fixtures
• Paper and allied products
• Textile mill products
• Leather and leather products
• Tobacco products

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Interest in reshoring production to the U.S. from China
remains strong, with a move from ‘consideration’ to ‘action ’

Respondents (%)
60

54

53

17

15

Yes, we will consider doing this in
the near future

15

Yes, we are actively considering doing this,
although we have not made a final decision

7

Yes, we will move production to the U.S. in
the next two years

50

40

37

30
18

17

20
8
8
10

3

13

17

Yes, we are already actively doing this

7
0

2012

2013

2015

Sources: BCG Manufacturing Survey, February 2012, August 2013, August 2014, and September 2015
Note: Numbers in the bar charts have been rounded; percentage changes outside the bar charts are based on the actual numbers before rounding. Question asked: “Given the fact that China’s
wage costs are expected to grow, do you expect your company will move manufacturing to the United States?” Question asked only of companies that currently manufacture in China. N = 132.

3

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1

The trend of year-over-year increases in companies actively
reshoring has continued

Respondents (%)
20

+31%
17

+88%

15

13

10

Yes, we are already actively doing this
7
5

0

2012

2013

2015

Sources: BCG Manufacturing Survey, February 2012, August 2013, August 2014, and September 2015
Note: Numbers in the bar charts have been rounded; percentage changes outside the bar charts are based on the actual numbers before rounding. Question asked: “Given the fact that China’s
wage costs are expected to grow, do you expect your company will move manufacturing to the United States?” Question asked only of companies that currently manufacture in China. N = 132.

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2

The U.S. has surpassed China and is outpacing Mexico as
the most likely destination for new manufacturing capacity
Most likely destination for new manufacturing capacity to serve the U.S. market
Respondents (%)
40

40

+5

+5
31

30

30

–10

31

29

30

26

26
20

20

26

20

10

10

0

0

United States

+3

China

United States
2013

Mexico

2015

Sources: BCG Manufacturing Survey, February 2012, August 2013, August 2014, and September 2015
Note: Numbers atop the bar charts have been rounded; percentage changes outside the bar charts are based on the actual numbers before rounding. Question asked: “In the next five years,
how will the supply chain change for the products you intend to sell inside the U.S.?” All other destination countries accounted for 18% of responses in 2013, 26% of responses in 2014, and
20% of responses in 2015.

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3

Companies that have reshored cite increased regionalization, strong workforce and environment, and local control
Respondents (%)

0

20

40

23

66

Provide local control over
manufacturing processes

Accelerate innovation and
product development

22

57

Make it easier to do business

19

55

25

52

30

Neutral

13

Benefits of increased
regionalization

15
20

16

63

Strongly or somewhat agree

10

18

64

Be closer to customers

100

14

70

Reduce shipping costs

Improve quality and yield

80

76

Shorten our supply chain

Access the skilled workforce
and talent

60

Primary reasons for
moving to U.S.

18

Strong workforce and
business environment

18

20

Control over process,
quality, and innovation

18

Strongly or somewhat disagree

Source: BCG Manufacturing Survey, September 2015
Note: Question asked: “Why did your company move production to the U.S. from another country? Please select how much you agree or disagree with each of the following reasons for change.”

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3

Manufacturers are 2.7x more likely to move production to
the U.S. than from the U.S. to access skilled labor
Respondents (%) citing access to the skilled workforce and talent as a strong factor for moving production
80

2.7x
57

60

40

21
20

0

Production moved from the U.S.1

Production moved to the U.S.2

Responses are consistent with the 2014 survey, in which 74% of respondents reported
moving production to the U.S. to access skilled labor
Source: BCG Manufacturing Survey, September 2015
Note: Chart counts respondents who marked “Strongly or somewhat agree.” Numbers atop the bar charts have been rounded; percentage changes outside the bar charts are based on the
actual numbers before rounding.
1Question asked: “Why did your company move production to another country from the U.S.? Please select how much you agree or disagree with each of the following reasons for change.”
2Question asked: “Why did your company move production to the U.S. from another country? Please select how much you agree or disagree with each of the following reasons for change.”

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4

Executives plan to invest in automation or other advanced
manufacturing to enhance product competitiveness
Respondents (%)
0

Decreasing automation
cost improved my product
competitiveness against
products sourced from
low-cost countries

Advanced manufacturing
will improve the
economics of localized
production

We will invest in
additional automation or
advanced manufacturing
technologies in the next
five years
Strongly or somewhat agree

20

40

56

60

80

31

100

Manufacturing executives
believe automation and
advanced manufacturing will
promote the following:

13

• Reduce costs and increase
their competitiveness

71

23

6

• Allow them to benefit from
being closer to suppliers and
customers

• Increase demand for highly
skilled workers

75

Neutral

16

10

Strongly or somewhat disagree

The U.S. is strongly
positioned to benefit from
manufacturers that seek to
increase regionalization,
especially as automation
costs decline

Source: BCG Manufacturing Survey, September 2015
Note: Task stated: “Please select how much you agree or disagree with each of the following reasons for change.” N = 252.

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5

Twice as many executives expect trends to drive net growth
in U.S. manufacturing jobs within five years
Anticipated job creation
outweighs loss by a 2-to-1
margin

Respondents (%)
30

26%

25% of respondents
anticipate net job losses

23%

20

50% of respondents
anticipate net job creation
19%

16%

10

8%
6%
3%

0
Decrease
by >20%

Decrease
by 10%-20%
Job loss

Decrease
by 5%-9%

Flat 1

Increase
by 5%-9%

Increase by
10%-20%

Increase
by >20%

Job creation

Anticipated job creation is still strong but slightly lower than last year’s 3:1 ratio of net
job creation to net job loss, due in part to global macro uncertainty (e.g., fx, growth)
Source: BCG Manufacturing Survey, September 2015
Note: Question asked: “Based on current trends, what do you expect to happen to the number of manufacturing jobs in your company over the next five years?”
1Includes responses of less than +/-1% per year.

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This research is part of BCG’s ongoing series on the
shifting dynamics of global manufacturing
Authors of this research
Harold L. Sirkin
Senior Partner and coauthor of The U.S.
Manufacturing Renaissance: How Shifting Global
Economics Are Creating an American Comeback
(Knowledge@Wharton, November 2012)
BCG Chicago
Michael Zinser
Senior Partner, coleader of the global Manufacturing
practice, and coauthor of The U.S. Manufacturing
Renaissance: How Shifting Global Economics Are
Creating an American Comeback
BCG Chicago
Justin Rose
Partner, leader of Industrial Goods Operations team in
the Americas, and coauthor of The U.S.
Manufacturing Renaissance: How Shifting Global
Economics Are Creating an American Comeback
BCG Chicago

Selected publications and
research in the series
Despite a Strong Dollar, the U.S. Retains a Big Manufacturing
Cost Advantage over Europe, Japan, and Other Developed
Countries (press release)
An analysis by The Boston Consulting Group, July 2015
How a Takeoff in Advanced Robotics Will Power the Next
Productivity Surge (press release)
An analysis by The Boston Consulting Group, February 2015
The Shifting Economics of Global Manufacturing: How Cost
Competitiveness Is Changing Worldwide
A report by The Boston Consulting Group, August 2014
The U.S. Skills Gap: Could It Threaten a Manufacturing
Renaissance?
A report by The Boston Consulting Group, August 2013
Behind the American Export Surge: The U.S. as One of the
Developed World’s Lowest-Cost Manufacturers
A report by The Boston Consulting Group, August 2013
U.S. Manufacturing Nears the Tipping Point: Which
Industries, Why, and How Much?
A report by The Boston Consulting Group, March 2012
Made in America, Again: Why Manufacturing Will Return to
the U.S.
A report by The Boston Consulting Group, August 2011

Note: Most publications are available on BCG’s thought leadership portal, www.bcgperspectives.com, or at www.bcg.com.

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Media contacts
Dave Fondiller
Director, Public Relations and Communications
fondiller.david@bcg.com
+1 212 446 3257
Alexandra Corriveau
Media Relations Manager, the Americas
corriveau.alexandra@bcg.com
+1 212 446 3261
Hanah Heintzelman
Media Relations Specialist, North America
heintzelman.hanah@bcg.com
+1 212 446 4667
Eric Gregoire
Global Media Relations Manager
gregoire.eric@bcg.com
+1 617 850 3783

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Thank you
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