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What’s Ahead for Manufacturing in 2021?

What’s Ahead for Manufacturing in 2021?

Thomas ( last month released the findings of its State of North American Manufacturing 2021 Annual Report ( While we’re already more than midway through the year, the report is chock full of interesting data that you might find useful as you map out your own business plans and strategies for 2021 and well beyond.

Many of the key finds revolve around the topic of reshoring, and the results are eye-popping:


  •  Significant Increase in Reshoring Interest: 83% of manufacturers indicate they are “likely” or “extremely likely” to reshore in 2021 (up from 54% in March 2020).

 •  Economic Impact of Reshoring: If four in five U.S. manufacturers bring on one new domestic single-contract supplier, it will inject $443 billion into the U.S. economy.

 •  Industrial Buyers’ Priorities and Preferences: 40% of respondents reported price as the most significant barrier to reshoring. Total Cost of Ownership is the most significant motivator for reshoring.

 •  Sharp Rise in North American Supply-Chain Demand in Certain Sectors: Sourcing data shows an increase in demand for wide range of raw materials. There is also a steep increase projected for additive manufacturing, up 4255%.

The survey also showed among the factors companies consider when they weigh whether or not to reshore, total-cost-of-ownership (TCO) ranked first, ahead of other factors such as proximity to market, reduced exposure to shipping costs and disruptions, etc.

Meantime, the Reshoring Initiative ( a report earlier this year concluding that “one bright silver lining to the pandemic is the broad public and corporate realization and acknowledgment of the need to shorten supply chains and produce goods at home.”

The report continued, “Despite COVID, reshoring numbers were up in 2020. Reshoring and foreign direct investment (FDI) job announcements for 2020 were 160,649, bringing the total jobs announced since 2010 to over 1 million (1,057,054). Also of significant importance: reshoring exceeded FDI by nearly 100%, the first beat for reshoring since 2013. Additionally, the number of companies reporting new reshoring and FDI set a new record: 1484 companies. Reshoring will continue to be key to U.S. manufacturing and economic recovery in 2021 and beyond.” Download that report at

Some more takeaways from that report:

In 2020 U.S. reshoring set a record of 109,000 jobs and outpaced FDI for the first time since 2013. COVID uncertainty has resulted in companies emphasizing operations in their home countries.

 •  In order to make the U.S. less vulnerable, there are now national initiatives to shorten and close supply-chain gaps for essential products. The following industries are most likely to benefit: PPE, medical, tech and defense. Medical equipment and PPE are the first responders of new reshoring and FDI, with cases up nearly 2000% and jobs up 400% from 2019.

 •  President Biden is prioritizing reshoring highly but applying different methods than President Trump. The gaps in Biden’s plans need to be addressed in order to achieve his goal of returning 5 million more jobs.

 •  We anticipate 2021 reshoring plus FDI job announcements to be near 200,000, up by at least 25%.

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Daisie Hobson

Daisie Hobson is a Director at the Reshoring Institute and an engineer with many years of experience in manufacturing and project management.

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