By Joel D. Joseph, Chairman, Made in the USA Foundation
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Apple CEO Tim Cook announced today that his company is going to build computers in factories in the United States once again. I am writing this article on an Apple that was assembled in the U.S. Apple has been quietly making MacPros and iMacs in California for the past two years.
As Apple faced increased scrutiny for hiring foreign firms to manufacture its products in China, CEO Tim Cook says that the U.S.-based company is looking to bring more jobs back home.
"We could have quickly maybe done just assembly, but it's broader because we wanted to do something more substantial," Cook said. "So we'll literally invest over $100 "- million" to startup U.S. production.
"[W]e have a responsibility to create jobs," Cook added.
Investigators were hired by Apple earlier this year to inspect conditions at three China-based Foxconn plants. This investigation found a number of "serious and pressing" abuses of Chinese labor laws . Apple ordered the audits after many worker suicides at Foxconn's Shenzhen plant, an explosion at a plant in Chengdu, and reports about unsafe working conditions and improper labor practices.
Many workers live at the factory, where they pay $17.50 per month to live seven to a room in dormitories. The average starting salary is $285 per month, and workers pay for their food. Workers get two meal breaks during each 12-hour shift. They eat in a cafeteria where they pay $0.70 a meal, a quarter of their hourly wage. There have been 18 worker suicides at Foxconn since 2010.
Apple I, II and the Original Macintosh were Made in USA
It wasn't always this way. Apple made its first computers in Northern California. Steve Wozniak and a friend put together the Apple I computer in Job's garage in 1976. They made 200 of them--all made in the U.S.A. The Apple II was introduced in 1977.
Apple sold 4.86 million Apple II computers from 1977 to 1984, all made in the United States. Then Apple introduced the MacIntosh, still one of the top-selling computers in the world. Apple sold 13.7 million Macs in 2010.
According to the New York Times, Apple's plant in Fremont, Calif., was producing 1,500 MacIntosh computers a day in 1984. Apple made about 1 million Macs in 1985 at its Fremont plant. According to the Los Angeles Times, Apple closed its Fremont plant in 1992.
Forbes reports that Apple has one of the highest profit margins of any corporation, 41.4%. The primary reason for this is outsourcing to China where workers are paid subsistence wages. Apple amassed a cash hoard of $76 billion, more than the U.S. Treasury had on hand in July of last year, according to Fortune magazine.
Finally, Apple is coming back home. I want to be one of the first to congratulate Tim Cook and Apple for seeing the light and doing the right thing. On news of the announcement Apple stock rose more than one percent. I think that Apple will benefit financially by creating more jobs in the United States and more loyal followers here. Apple's profit margins may decline slightly, but its overall profitability is sure to increase.