Everywhere you look, there is buzz about U.S. manufacturing's comeback, including in the high-tech sector. Motorola Mobility, owned by Google, is hiring 2,000 workers to produce its new Moto X phone in Fort Worth, Texas. It will be the first smartphone assembled in the United States.
Apple Inc. has promised to invest $100 million to build a Mac product line to be assembled in Texas, using components made in Illinois and Florida and equipment built in Kentucky and Michigan. And just last month, the Lenovo Group, a Chinese company, opened its first plant in Whitsett, N.C., making ThinkPads with some 115 workers.
These represent a small fraction of the half-million manufacturing jobs created since the recession ended in 2009, with the biggest gains in Michigan, Texas, Indiana and Ohio. (see chart). While the new high-tech interests are encouraging, the reality is that the number of U.S. manufacturing jobs overall has stopped climbing in July 2012. Since then, the number of U.S. manufacturing jobs, while fluctuating slightly, has been stalled at the 11.9 million range, federal data show.