Much has been written about the exodus of North American manufacturing companies to countries such as China, Malaysia, and the Philippines, and the associated loss of jobs in Canada and the United States. Low-wage labour and cheaper raw materials were two of the major motives behind these departures and, as a result, the subsequent factory closures led to many jobs lost in Toronto and throughout North America.
Many factory workers were basically forced to look for jobs elsewhere in Toronto and the GTA, as well as throughout and even beyond the province of Ontario. Some of these workers were successful in finding other manufacturing jobs; others were not quite so fortunate. Employment agencies such as Winters Technical Staffing were also being used in many cases to help unemployed factory workers find new jobs in or around Toronto.
However, recent activities throughout North America point to signs that manufacturing jobs may be returning home from their overseas locations. Over the last few years, there have been published reports of the following major manufacturers confirming plans or constructing facilities to return or relocate some of their operations to North America:
- Ford (Automobiles)
- Lenovo (Personal computers)
- Foxconn (Robotics)
- Ikea (Furniture)
- Airbus (Aerospace industry)
- Caterpillar (Construction and mining equipment)
In addition, many major North American companies have either physically opened or announced plans to build new production facilities ‘at home’ rather than operating these plants, and their associated manufacturing jobs, overseas. Some of these firms are:
- Apple (Consumer electronics)
- General Electric
- Dow Chemical
Several reasons have been cited for this shift in favour of returning to North America:
- Narrower wage gap between China and the US
- Lower oil and transportation costs
- Lower inventory costs
- Lower energy costs (specifically natural gas)
- Proximity to major markets – faster delivery times
- Shorter production lead times
- Less inconvenience due to time zone differences
- Savings on business-related travel costs
- Greater potential to retain technology and innovation
It should be noted that there are still detractors to the notion that manufacturing jobs show signs of returning to North America. These individuals or groups believe that most factory jobs created in the last few years are merely a rebound effect after the steep economic decline during the late 2000s, and they warn that recent evidence and upward trends may be less positive than they appear.
So what does all this mean to workers currently holding manufacturing jobs or those seeking factory jobs in Toronto? The upward trending in the United States might be considered an omen of a stronger future for local manufacturing – as more companies return or rededicate their operations/facilities from overseas locations, the local economy could be impacted in these ways:
- The return of previously displaced factory jobs in the Toronto area
- New manufacturing jobs – in either primary or satellite operations
- Current factory jobs retained in Toronto rather than moved overseas
As a leader placement agency for more than 40 years, Winters Technical Staffing recognizes the implications and potential scepticism that may result from the above discussion. We would be pleased to provide further insight and answers to any questions you may have on the subject of factory jobs in Toronto today and in the future.
For more in-depth discussion on manufacturing jobs or factory jobs in Toronto, call us today at 1-877-495-7422 or contact us to book your no-obligation consultation.