Is my Fridge “Made in the USA” or China?

Made in the USA

Outsourced. It’s a term you’ve heard used more and more often over the last few years. Many companies have relocated manufacturing and customer service positions overseas, presumably to cut down on labor costs. At a time when unemployment rates are high many Americans are finding it hard to get a job making a decent wage. In an effort to counter the trend of outsourcing consumers are voting with their wallets and buying American made goods instead of foreign products as often as possible. This Consumer Report goes into detail about which appliances are still made in the U.S. and which companies have moved manufacturing operations overseas.

I wanted to share this article with you because it brings up a very important point about manufacturing. With Americans choosing to buy American Made some crafty corporations have created a new label, “Assembled in the USA” for their products. The parts are manufactured overseas and shipped here to be assembled. This is a mixed bag of results because on the one hand some jobs are remaining here, but others are still being outsourced. In the world of appliances companies such as Whirlpool (who owns the brands Maytag/Amana, KitchenAid, and Jenn-Air) manufacture their refrigerators, dishwashers, etc in the United States, but the replacement parts are made all over the world.

Why have so many manufacturing jobs been outsourced?

This means that when you buy a Whirlpool refrigerator you may see that it has been proudly “Made in the USA”, which is true. Many Whirlpool models are made in Ohio, but the replacement parts that you purchase for it may come from outside of the country. If you order a Whirlpool replacement water filter for your fridge you could get a part that was manufactured in Mexico or Taiwan. A Maytag refrigerator on the other hand could be made in the USA and have a water filter which is also made in the USA, like the UKF8001. Here is a list of the major brands and where their refrigerator filters are manufactured.

There is some good news on the horizon. While it will probably take some time to sort out the current unemployment issues and bring enough jobs back to the U.S. the process is already underway. According to this article from Area Development on reshoring, “American business executives are reconsidering their overseas operations and realizing that outsourcing may not be the best option.” The article discusses “reshoring”, which is the business equivalent of undoing the damage that outsourcing had on manufacturing jobs by bringing them back to Americans. CEO’s and business execs once thought of outsourcing as a cheaper way to compete with other companies, but now higher shipping and transportation costs combined with tax breaks and incentives are luring some manufacturers back to the U.S.

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