Monday, January 23, 2012

Why Apple Is Not Made in the USA

"With the notion we might go along
That employment at home should be strong,
But our skills, we apprise,
And our chain of supplies
Don't compare to those guys' in Guangdong."

A New York Times profile on Apple's manufacturing of the iPhone opens with President Obama at dinner with Steve Jobs, asking him what it would take to bring this operation back to America. It's a poignant moment, as it seems that both US iPhone jobs, as well as Steve Jobs himself, were going and not coming back. Charles Duhigg and Keith Bradsher take an in-depth look at the economics of iPhone manufacture and determine that factory-ready skills and scalable supply chains are lacking here at home. "Though Americans are among the most educated workers in the world, the nation has stopped training enough people in the mid-level skills that factories need," they write. As for supply chains -
The entire supply chain is in China now,” said another former high-ranking Apple executive. “You need a thousand rubber gaskets? That’s the factory next door. You need a million screws? That factory is a block away. You need that screw made a little bit different? It will take three hours.
Is massive vocational and technical training America's answer to this challenge?


  1. I disagree with the statement that "Americans are among the most educated workers in the world." While this may be true if measured by classroom hours alone, I have met hundreds of morons with useless degrees in Psychology, English, History, PolySci, and assorted liberal arts. Spending 4 years reading books and watching films, talking about them and writing essays about them, and starting weekends on Thursday night does not make one "educated". Kids these days simply aren't learning anything useful.

    Where I work (small US-based electronics manufacturer), we recently spent 5 months looking for an entry-level EE with decent communications skills. One would think that in this economy one could swing a dead cat and hit 3 such candidates, but no.

  2. Mr. Lawry, you have hit the nail on the head.


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