We’ll have to start griping about China differently. It’s no longer the cheapest place on earth to make something, even though it is poised to become the world’s number one manufacturer in 2009, according to the latest issue of Impact Analysis from the Kansas World Trade Center.
The reason: the inexhaustable supply of unskilled Chinese labor is hitting limits as a pool of skilled labor, driving up manufacturing wages by 5-15 percent a year. The cheap stuff is moving to Vietnam and other countries. And the higher cost of transportation from Asia and the depressed dollar have both greatly raised costs for US manufacturers.
It’s meant less pressure on US manufacturers to outsource (at least to China). But on the other hand, China is moving up the value chain to compete more directly with the industries left in the US.