Apple Joins High-Tech Reshoring Trend

Apple has announced plans to open a manufacturing plant in Mesa, Ariz., creating more than 2,000 jobs and part of an effort to bring some manufacturing jobs back to the United States.

Although Apple currently uses some American suppliers, the assembly of most of its products — including the iPhone and the iPad — is outsourced to a massive chain of East Asian factories. Apple has faced harsh criticism about labor conditions at some facilities as well as criticism about why it hasn’t created more jobs in the U.S.

This new plant will run on 100 percent renewable energy, as a result of the work Apple is doing with  the Salt River Project utility to create green energy sources to power the facility.

Apple did not disclose what will be made at the Mesa factory. But GT Advanced Technologies said it had struck a $578 million deal to produce the “sapphire” material that Apple uses to protect sensors such as its phone cameras and the fingerprint reader on the iPhone 5s. The company said the work would be done in Arizona.

Apple announced in December 2012 that it planned to bring some of its manufacturing back to the United States including manufacturing its new Mac Pros in a $100 million Texas plant.

Other tech companies also have launched efforts to bring high-tech production to the United States including General Electric, Google and Motorola. Many of these firms find that they can better protect intellectual property in the U.S.  They are also able to make changes to production lines quicker in the U.S. than they can in China.