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Why “Made In The USA” Matters To LPS Industries

LPS Industries could have easily decided long ago to offshore some of our production, but we chose not to do so because we feel strongly that there is too much at stake. In addition to providing meaningful employment for our family of long-term, loyal employees and the security that employment provides for their families, the impact and benefits of American-based manufacturing are woven throughout the fabric of our society. Benefits of U.S.-based manufacturing include:

  • Wage laws, child labor laws and worker safety regulations are observed in contrast with countries who exploit workers to help support lower prices

  • Product safety standards are upheld so risks such as exposure to unidentified lead content are avoided

  • US manufacturing processes are better for the environment

  • Creating jobs for Americans means more income flowing through local economies and more tax revenue to support our infrastructure

A Little Background

“Made in the USA” is a phrase we’ve all grown up with, one that communicates both real and perceived value. From manufacturers to retailers, politicians to consumers, the popular expression has many interpretations. It is used by organizations to communicate the attributes of quality, value and fair treatment of employees and to distinguish their products as the best choice to support the American economy. Let’s take a closer look at what “Made in the USA” really means and why it is important to all of us.

“Made in the USA” is both a labeling distinction and a promotional theme that entered the national perception in the 1970’s. This was the time when significant changes began to occur in trade and tariff regulations. This was also the time when China began to create export zones and allow foreign investments that encouraged mass labor migration to these zones. The collective effect of these dynamics, leveraged by differences in the prices of raw materials, labor costs and general overhead, began to result in noticeably more foreign-made goods appearing on U.S shelves. Increasing choices of more readily available, less expensive foreign goods became pervasive in the U.S. as well as markets around the world. The significant difference in pricing represented an attractive alternative to more expensive American-made goods, with consumers and importers worldwide taking notice.

Just to put a number on it, the ABC World News segment “Made In America” reported that from the 1960’s to current, purchases of foreign goods by American consumers have increased from 8% to approximately 60% of everything we buy. Looking just at China alone between 1991 and 2013, their exports grew from 2% to 20% of the world’s total.

In one potentially positive sign, while the limits of available land and labor in China have not yet been reached, relatively recent changes in the dynamics of the Chinese economy and labor market may result in forces aligning to improve the price competitiveness of certain products manufactured in America. Recent surveys of American consumers also contain some positive signs that migration of some U.S. manufacturing may slow. In a recent poll, the market research firm YouGov determined that 81% of their survey respondents would buy American made goods in order to support the US economy. In a follow-up, 42% of the same respondents felt that