The chase for lower-paid workers drove the migration, which resulted in employment in the U.S. manufacturing sector falling by 40 percent from its 1980 peak. But big companies including Boeing Co and General Electric Co are now finding that the benefit of lower wages can be offset by higher logistics and materials costs.
"We, lemming-like, over the last 15 years extended our supply chains a little too far globally in the name of low cost," said Jim McNerney, chief executive of world No. 2 planemaker Boeing. "We lost control in some cases over quality and service when we did that, we underestimated in some cases the value of our workers back here."