The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed glaring deficiencies in the U.S. manufacturing sector’s ability to provide necessary products – especially amidst a crisis. It’s been five months since the nation declared a national emergency, yet shortages of test kit components, pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment and other critical medical supplies persist.
Globalization is at the heart of the problem. With heavy reliance on global supply chains and foreign producers, the pandemic has interrupted shipping of parts and materials to nearly 75% of U.S. companies.
Decades of “offshoring” domestic manufacturing to other countries have led the U.S. to the current crisis. It has seriously damaged the nation’s industrial base, increased income inequality and caused stagnation in U.S. living standards. How the U.S. responds will determine the long-term health and prosperity of the nation.