Rising fast closing the differential between costs in

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rising fast, closing the differential between costs in the United States and overseas. In dollar terms, wage rates in China were some five times higher in 2012 than they were in 2000, and they are still rising fast. Labor productivity has also increased significantly in the United States, further closing the gap in labor costs. Meanwhile, high oil prices have raised the cost of shipping products across oceans, while the abundance of cheap natural gas in the United States is helping to lower production costs. If this were not enough, there are signs that there are benefits to having product design and manufacturing co-located, and in some cases, this is driving a shift in production back to the United States. A case in point is GE's GeoSpring water heater. This was originally designed in the United States and manufactured in China. The finished product was then shipped back across the ocean for sale in the United States. In 2010, given the macro trends in labor productivity and energy prices, GE decided to see what would happen if it brought some of its appliance products back to the United States. The GeoSpring was one
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of its first attempts at this. GE established a team of
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