Unable to recruit construction workers with an annual salary of 900,000 yuan, is the manufacturing industry “reshoring and going bankrupt”?

With the passage of the American Infrastructure Act of 2023, municipalities across the country have received large sums of funds to invest in various public infrastructure construction. However, a serious problem emerged – labor shortage. According to statistics, American cnc machining factories currently face a serious labor shortage of 800,000 people.

The reshoring of manufacturing has always been an important national policy goal of the United States. But in the face of such a large labor gap, there are doubts whether this goal can be achieved. Factories are in urgent need of a large number of skilled workers, but high wages and generous benefits do not seem to be able to solve the fundamental problem. How will the labor crisis evolve? Can the United States find a breakthrough in the infrastructure boom?

1. The transformation of U.S. manufacturing

After the COVID-19 epidemic, the global supply chain suffered heavy losses, and the United States began to re-examine the development of local manufacturing. The government strongly supports the reshoring of manufacturing and has invested tens of billions of dollars in building factories. However, as factories were built, there were not enough workers to fill them.

The severe labor shortage has made it difficult for the U.S. manufacturing reshoring plan. In order to maintain the foundation of manufacturing, the government and enterprises are working hard to find breakthroughs. From Columbus to Silicon Valley, manufacturing worker shortages are the norm.

One data clearly reveals the seriousness of the problem: In 2022, the cumulative orders of the U.S. construction industry hit a four-year high, but the industry still lacks 650,000 skilled workers. Intel announced the construction of two new factories in Ohio, providing annual salaries of up to US$135,000, and it is difficult to fill 3,000 positions.
Take TSMC’s factory in Arizona as an example. It was originally planned to go into production in 2024, but it has been postponed to 2025 because it cannot recruit enough skilled workers. The situation is even more serious in the automobile industry. Ford, Toyota and other car companies have complained about the difficulty in recruiting workers, and some companies even use child labor to cope with employee shortages. Experts predict that if the labor problem is not solved, the U.S. auto industry will face greater difficulties in the future.

Bob, a veteran construction worker, said he had difficulty finding suitable apprentices. “Most young people are not willing to engage in this industry because they find it too hard. In order to retain workers, our company has to repeatedly raise wages. But no matter how high the wages are, it cannot solve the fundamental problem.” In response to the current situation of labor shortage, the United States is starting from multiple Start with that.

2. Approach from multiple aspects

Change social concepts, improve the image of manufacturing, and let young people realize the value of engaging in manufacturing. Increase the training of skilled workers, reserve more skilled workers, appropriately relax immigration policies, and attract more foreign workers to supplement the workforce. At the same time, the introduction of automation technology is seen as a key move to deal with long-term staff shortages.

Experts believe that to successfully bring back the U.S. manufacturing industry, the government and society must work together to fundamentally solve the problem of worker shortages. Only by focusing on the employment problem and formulating practical countermeasures can the beautiful blueprint for the return of the U.S. manufacturing industry be gradually realized.

At present, the younger generation in the United States is generally unwilling to engage in manufacturing jobs, which is an important reason for the labor shortage. Jack, an 18-year-old high school graduate, said: “My dream is to be a programmer and write code in the office every day instead of twisting screws on the assembly line.” In his view, manufacturing is dirty, tiring, hard, and unattractive. Jack’s idea is relatively common among young people in the United States, and is called “the new generation turning from reality to reality.”

The government has increased support for vocational education and training. Some states have used federal funds to work with businesses and schools to open “preparatory technical colleges” to provide young people with manufacturing training. These colleges adopt flexible curriculum settings, allowing students to practice in factories while studying, so that they can successfully find jobs after graduation.

Some large companies are also taking active steps. General Electric is working with labor unions to provide employees with continuing education opportunities. Unilever has established a “Manufacturing Academy” in cooperation with local vocational schools to train factory technicians. These measures will play a role in alleviating the shortage of skilled workers.

Attracting younger generations to join manufacturing remains a huge challenge. Many young people believe that factory work is boring, with harsh environment and bleak prospects, and is not as attractive as emerging industries such as the Internet. Parents also want their children to go to college rather than directly join the workforce.

Faced with the prejudices of young people, many companies in the United States have begun to take measures to change their image. Ford holds “Ford Technology Days” in major high schools, allowing students to visit workshops and laboratories to demonstrate the high-tech content of automobile manufacturing.

Toyota Motor has launched the “Toyota Apprenticeship Program” to provide formal training and jobs for high school graduates. These measures have achieved certain results, and some young people have chosen to join the automobile manufacturing industry. Since it takes time to change concepts, it is far from enough to rely solely on the company’s own publicity.

The U.S. government is now taking action to vigorously promote the importance of manufacturing to the national economy. Increase enrollment plans for technical colleges in each state and provide preferential policies to attract young people to enroll. Some experts also suggest that relevant courses can be set up in primary and secondary schools to let students understand manufacturing from an early age to change prejudices.


Underemployment in U.S. factories is a systemic problem that needs to be addressed at multiple levels. Simply increasing wages and benefits cannot fundamentally solve the problem. What is important is to form a consensus across society and respect labor to attract more talents to join the ranks of industrial workers.

China also faces similar challenges. It must create an environment that respects labor and encourage young people to choose industrial jobs. Otherwise, even if a sky-high salary is offered, the position will be difficult to fill. Young people, how do you think you should attract labor talents to join us? Follow me and discuss together.