One of Apple’s Mac lines will be manufactured in the United States starting next year, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced in an interview to be aired on the Thursday edition of NBC’s Rock Center.
“We’ve been working for years on doing more and more in the United States,” he told host Brian Williams. “Next year, we will do one of our existing Mac lines in the United States.”
Cook did not specify which product line it would manufacture domestically.
Though Apple does currently manufacture some of its products’ in the United States, its labor practices in China have existed under a cloud of scrutiny for years. That’s because much of Apple’s product line has been assembled at plants owned by the Taiwanese firm Foxconn, known for its recent history of labor unrest. In January 2012, 150 workers at a Foxconn plant in Wuhan threatened to commit mass suicide unless pay and working conditions improved.
In the United States, manufacturing—once a bedrock industry for the national economy—has been gradually replaced by service and retail sector jobs. In the years since the financial collapse, manufacturing jobs have begun to return to the country, but wages in the industry have remained stagnant.
Meanwhile, wages in China are on the rise, with even Foxconn being forced to offer more competitive pay. The rise of labor costs in China, and their commensurate fall in the United States, may help to explain why Cook believes building Apple products in America is now a wise business decision.