From the ‘60s to the 2000s the manufacturing sector was offshoring parts of its work to countries where labor was cheaper, staff were in greater supply and regulations were lighter. However for more than a decade that trend has been reversing. The manufacturing sectors in the US and EU are both reporting significantly increased reshoring. Savings in offshore labor are not as clear-cut as they used to be. The great recession of 2008 led to tax and other incentives for reshoring efforts and the current Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the weaknesses of long supply chains. This all accelerates the reshoring trend.
During the offshoring decades many manufacturers eliminated functions which were not seen as core competencies. But, in stripping down, critical functions were lost and in the process apprentice-type training was also lost. Additionally, skilled baby boomers are retiring now in significant numbers and hence we have a manufacturing skilled labor shortage.