November 24, 2017
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U.S. Firms Battle "China Shock"

(Reuters)

A town in North Carolina hit hard by jobs lost to China now struggles to fill hundreds of positions after retooling. Colette Luke reports.

Donald Trump likes to talk about devastated factory towns and U.S. jobs lost to China. But in Hickory, North Carolina, they're opening factories, not closing them. In this thriving furniture hub, reporter Howard Schneider found little evidence of the job losses Trump laments on the trail..

Soundbite: Howard Schneider, reporter, Reuters, (English) saying:

"They cannot fill jobs fast enough. What went overseas was the commodity furniture. What's left is more higher end, particularly upholstered type of goods. That has to be done over here because it's one at a time, it's customized, they can do special order types of things. And with a boom in consumer spending, that has brought demand back up."

The U.S. economy did lose almost a third of its manufacturing jobs in the 2000s as China emerged as the world's pre-eminent low-cost producer. But since then, the picture has changed. While job losses persist in some cities, since 2010, U.S. manufacturing as a whole has added 800,000 jobs and more than 2800 here in Hickory.

Soundbite: Howard Schneider, reporter, Reuters, (English) saying:

"They've started up a new furniture academy where they're going to be training hundreds of workers to do these jobs again."