When I was growing up in Cleveland, many relatives and family friends worked in factories making cars and auto parts. Then it became cheaper to manufacture overseas. Plants closed and joblessness rose. But in the past few years, thanks in part to raising labor prices abroad and the U.S. shale gas boom that has cut energy costs here, manufacturing is making a comeback.
A half-million U.S. manufacturing jobs have been created since 2009. While that number pales in comparison to the millions of jobs lost over the past two decades, the “Made in America” sector is basking in recent good news. Ever more clever machines are vastly increasing productivity. More U.S. goods are sold overseas, boosting the economy. Youngstown — an hour’s drive east of Cleveland — is a new hub of innovative manufacturing. In Northeast Ohio, the private sector, the federal government, and colleges are combining resources to develop game-changing technology and better train workers.