Southwest Virginians know too well the downsides of globalization when it comes to manufacturing jobs.
For decades, they have watched long-running textile and furniture manufacturers shutter factories as their owners moved their operations to new locations with lower labor costs.
The 21st century, however, has seen a resurgence of manufacturing in western Virginia. New facilities and expansions of existing factories drive the region’s recovery from the Great Recession. In a twist, it’s largely foreign-owned companies driving this new wave of manufacturing as they look to establish footholds in the U.S. and tap into domestic markets.
From 2009 through 2015, the Roanoke region saw a 7.7 percent growth in employment within the manufacturing sector, more than twice the total non-farm employment change of 3.1 percent.