Amazon and Foxconn Reflect ‘Deliver It Now’ Trend

In today's economy, speed is everything. Amazon's plans to add 50,000 jobs at a dozen warehouses across the United States and Foxconn's decision to build a $10 billion plant and hire up to 13,000 workers in Wisconsin aren't just feel-good stories of job creation. They reflect the pressures companies now feel to be as close to their customers as possible -- a trend that's helping restore some American factories and jobs.

Computer advances increasingly let manufacturers customize orders and ship goods faster. In the new world, making products in faraway low-wage countries like China can be a disadvantage: It can take too long -- weeks, months -- to ship finished products to the United States.

"This is about customer proximity," said Michael Mandel, chief economic strategist at the Progressive Policy Institute. "You develop a sustainable and durable advantage against overseas competition."

Mandel said the growing trend would have emerged regardless of who occupied the White House. Still, President Donald Trump took the opportunity to take some credit Wednesday for the Foxconn announcement, saying it "definitely" happened because of his election and his pursuit of tax and regulatory cuts.

"This is a great day for American workers and manufacturing, and for everyone who believes in the concept and the label, 'Made in the USA,'" Trump said.

Amazon plans to make thousands of hiring offers in one day when it holds a job fair next week across the country. People offered jobs on the spot will pack or sort boxes and help ship them. Nearly 40,000 of the 50,000 jobs will be full time, and most will count toward Amazon's previously announced goal of adding 100,000 full-time workers by mid-2018.

The move reflects Amazon's propulsive growth at a time when traditional retailers are closing stores and cutting jobs.

For Taiwan-based Foxconn, building a factory in Wisconsin brings it closer...

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