Covid-19 and Made in the USA
A look into how the Covid-19 crisis is changing America’s Manufacturing
Entering week 6 of government-mandated stay at home orders, millions of Americans have filed for unemployment, non-essential businesses are required to stay closed. With everything that is going on involving the Covid-19 pandemic, it is easy to get caught up in the hysteria of dread.
My family is at the brunt of it all. We operate a small, family-run, furniture manufacturing shop that is located in queens. The shop has been shut down since the beginning of the pandemic and we’ve all been wondering when the state of the country will go back to normal, or the new normal. When our lives can start again, and the factory is going to start producing again. The concern is not just for ourselves and the state of the company, it is for the workers. The 80 employees that are supported by the business. If the shop is not able to open up soon, what will happen to them? And with no income coming in, how will the shop be able to support them?
Made in America is a term that is under a lot of pressure now. Manufacturing in the United States has been on a steady decline, as it has become too expensive to produce in this country and more profitable to produce in countries like China and India. But Made in the USA is what allowed this country to prosper. American Made products that circulated our economy within our country, allowing Americans to support Americans without having to compromise price and quality. Made in the USA has been threatened for a while now, and it is up to us as Americans to defend it. American Manufacturing is a tradition in this country that provide millions of jobs for the American people. Being unable to produce goods at the moment, what will the state of the dwindling American manufacturing look like once the country is able to fully open up again?
Contrary to the popular anxiety, there is actually a lot of evidence that suggests the Manufacturers will be able to prosper when the country is finally able to open. Despite being closed down for months, once the shops are able to open up again there will be product orders waiting for them, and jobs ready to be started.
The economy is climbing back up. When the pandemic hit the United States panic swept the nation. Causing a rapid dip in the economic landscape of the country. However, now that the dust is settling, the economy is starting to get back on track. It is not fully recovered, and it won't be for a while, but the Dow and S&P have been moving up since March 23rd. Which is a really good sign and suggests the country will be able to recover with less damage.
In the past months, Americans have also grown weary of our dependence on foreign manufacturing for goods, and essential products. Since the start of the virus, it has been difficult for Americans to get the goods they need that are produced in foreign countries. Some of the most important items on this long list are ventilators, face masks, and penicillin.
Back in the beginning of March the largest threat to America was the possibility of China withholding exports of penicillin and raw antibiotics to America. Which would leave many Americans sick and suffering from treatable diseases. It is surprising to see that China was able to gain a monopoly over such an essential drug. The American people were shocked at our inability to produce or supply essential products. How does the world's largest pharmaceutical industry and the 5th largest pharmaceutical exporter not produce an essential drug like penicillin?
When discussing the shortage of medical supplies in New York (specifically masks, hospital gowns, and face shields), governor Cuomo stated “It is unbelievable to me that in New York state, in the United States of America, we cant makes these materials. And that we are all shopping China to try to get these materials. And we’re all competing against each other.” His stance continues “It is the cruelest irony that this nation (The USA) is now dependent on China for production of many of these products.”
Americans Agree with Cuomo, they want America to be less dependent on foreign economies for the production of our goods, but especially our necessities. The dark impact no one expected, of the fall of the American manufacturing system, was revealed during the Covid-19 crisis. While most people were focused on the increase of outsourcing effect on American Jobs, the true crippling effect of the lack of manufacturing was the reliance on unreliable countries.
Bringing manufacturing back to America is more complicated than the American people wanting it to happen. The state of the United States economy, minimum wage rates, government restrictions, and technology all play factors in the reviving of the American manufacturing industry. All four of these aspects that tribute to production in America have shifted over the past decade, making manufacturing in America more beneficial. Since 2004, America has seen an increase in manufacturing. The key attributes of American Manufacturing are innovative technologies. Companies that brought the most secure manufacturing jobs to America, were companies that produced innovative machinery that cut the cost of manufacturing.
In order to continue to grow American Manufacturing, we must adjust to the economic climate. Understand what America produces and figure out how to produce it better. The production of these technologies will open up jobs in the engineering fields, as well as the manufacturing fields that are able to use these innovative machines in manufacturing. We must be more efficient and intelligent creators if we want to produce in America. Bringing back American manufacturing will take dedication to innovative ideas and creative problem-solving skills that will launch us into the future. We cannot look at American manufacturing as what it once was, but as what it could be. The future of industry in America relies on the creative minds that look to the future of this country.
The United States needs to become more self-sufficient if it is going to continue to prosper. The Covid-19 crisis revealed our weakest link. We must acknowledge the error and learn from it. So that in the next crisis we can be fully prepared for it.