“In recent years, Apple’s success has prompted scrutiny of everything from its environmental practices to the treatment of its workers in Asia. Others, meanwhile, opine that Apple should build more of its popular products in the U.S., given that it has approximately $97 billion in cash,” Adario Strange reports for PC Magazine.
“Prior to his death, Steve Jobs reportedly told President Barack Obama that that was not feasible. “Those jobs aren’t coming back,” the Apple co-founder said. But a group of researchers argue in a new paper that Apple is capable of returning its manufacturing operations to American shores,” Strange reports. “‘If Apple were willing to accept lower margins and the 8 hours of assembly labor on the iPhone were on-shore and paid at U.S. rates, Apple would still have a gross margin of nearly 50 percent,’ researchers concluded.”
Strange reports, “The 25-page paper, titled “Apple Business Model: Financialization across the Pacific,” was constructed by a research group at The University of Manchester’s Center for Research on Socio-Cultural Change… [It] was written by researchers Dr. Adam Leaver, Professor Karel Williams, Julie Froud, and Sukhdev Johal.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: This quartet is something, but to call them “researchers” is pushing it. The problem isn’t the economics, the problems are the Amercian worker vs. the foreign worker, education, geography, and scale – all of which seem to have been left out of their “research.”
It isn’t just that workers are cheaper abroad. Rather, Apple’s executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have so outpaced their American counterparts that “Made in the U.S.A.” is no longer a viable option for most Apple products.
Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option. One former executive described how the company relied upon a Chinese factory to revamp iPhone manufacturing just weeks before the device was due on shelves. Apple had redesigned the iPhone’s screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. New screens began arriving at the plant near midnight.
A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day.
“The speed and flexibility is breathtaking,” the executive said. “There’s no American plant that can match that.”
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, executives say.
To thrive, companies argue they need to move work where it can generate enough profits to keep paying for innovation. Doing otherwise risks losing even more American jobs over time, as evidenced by the legions of once-proud domestic manufacturers — including G.M. and others — that have shrunk as nimble competitors have emerged. – Charles Duhigg and Keith Bradsher, The New York Times, January 21, 2012
A study by Analysis Group found that Apple has directly or indirectly created 304,000 U.S. jobs. These jobs — spread across all 50 states — include thousands of jobs in numerous industries, from the people who create components for our products to the people who build the planes and trucks that carry them to our customers. For example, this figure also includes workers in Texas who manufacture processors for iOS products, Corning employees in Kentucky and New York who create the majority of the glass for iPhone, and FedEx and UPS employees. Together with the 210,000 iOS jobs generated by the app economy, these 304,000 jobs make a total of 514,000 U.S. jobs created or supported by Apple.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Carl H.” for the heads up.]
Economists weigh in on Apple’s U.S. job creation claims – March 5, 2012
514,000 U.S. jobs created thanks to Apple Inc. – March 2, 2012
Launched by Apple, ‘App Economy’ has created 466,000 jobs in the U.S. alone since 2008 – February 7, 2012
Apple and the American economy – January 24, 2012
Apple, Steve Jobs, Obama, America and a squeezed middle class – January 21, 2012
Apple’s real market value: How many U.S. jobs it creates – November 21, 2011
iOS developer salaries skyrocket – November 9, 2011
How many U.S. jobs has Apple’s iPod created? – July 8, 2011