Apple Plans U.S. Manufacturing Plant

Plant Will Produce Mac Computers, Not iPads And iPods

Apple Plans U.S. Manufacturing PlantApple Inc. has announced that it will begin manufacturing some of its products in the U.S., continuing a recent trend of high-profile American companies that are shifting away from exclusive overseas production. Initially, Apple says it will invest $100 million to build a U.S. facility, ultimately creating about 200 jobs by 2013, according to the forecasts of analysts. Workers in the U.S. Apple plant will manufacture Mac computers, officials say, meaning the company's most popular and profitable items – the iPhone and iPad – will continue to be made abroad.

Foxconn Technology Group, the controversial maker of iPhones in China, will likely partner with Apple in its new U.S. venture. Taiwan-based Foxconn has come under heavy scrutiny for unfavorable working conditions at its factories in China that make Apple products, prompting an audit by the Fair Labor Association. While it's infamously known for its factories in China, Foxconn already has a presence in the U.S., working with Hewlett-Packard to make personal computers at a plant in Indianapolis.

Although skeptics believe the decision by Apple to shift production is strictly a public relations move, experts say there could be some financial benefits in the future, as well. Because of rising labor and transportation costs in Asia and Mexico, more U.S. firms are looking toward domestic manufacturing as a strong option. Over the last few years, Caterpillar, Ford and General Electric have either relocated or announced plans to relocate some of their manufacturing back to the U.S.

Since January of 2010, the U.S. has gained nearly 500,000 manufacturing jobs, according to government data. A much-publicized report released in March by the Boston Consulting Group predicted up to three million new U.S. manufacturing jobs may be created by the end of this decade. Apple officials themselves have not ruled out manufacturing the company's bigger-name items domestically in the future. Even under current conditions, in fact, analysts estimate Apple could still make a 47% gross profit producing the iPhone in the U.S.