American manufacturing companies have a spring in their step

A DRIVE ALONG the narrow county roads of Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, used to be a sleepy affair. You would spot a pumpkin farm, the odd homestead and red barn. But a recent visit revealed a cacophonous building site: a factory is emerging in this corner of the Midwest. Where chicken coops once stood, Foxconn, a Taiwanese contract-manufacturing giant best-known for assembling iPhones, has arrived.

When in 2017 the firm announced plans to build a massive factory for high-end televisions, many cheered, not least President Donald Trump, who came for last year’s ground breaking ceremony. Electronics manufacturers had long ago abandoned America for cheaper countries, especially China, so the investment seemed to mark a reversal. Having secured a promise of over $4bn in subsidies from Wisconsin, Foxconn vowed to create 13,000 jobs, many of them on the assembly line, with an average annual salary of $54,000.

But what...



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