Did you know that in 1985, Ronald Reagan proclaimed December National "Made in America" month, encouraging American workers and consumers to "observe this month with appropriate programs and activities to recognize and celebrate the excellence of American products"? I recently found a link to this fact on the M-tron Components website, which then led me to the original proclamation and a thought-provoking blog post by Julie Reiser, president of Made in USA Certified.

The opinion piece concludes with a recent quote from ABC's Diane Sawyer, "The average American will spend $700 on holiday gifts and goodies this year, totaling more than $465 billion, the National Retail Federation estimates. If that money was spent entirely on U.S.-made products it would create 4.6 million jobs. But it doesn’t even have to be that big. If each of us spent just $64 on American made goods during our holiday shopping, the result would be 200,000 new jobs.”

This is certainly food for thought as many of us are still doing our holiday shopping. If we all spent just a portion of our holiday gift budget on American-made items, we could make a real impact by supporting our fellow workers and the U.S. economy.

As wages continue to rise in China and more companies begin to move some of their manufacturing facilities back to the United States, this may become easier to do. Case in point: Apple plans to move production of some of its Mac computers back to the U.S. in 2013, according to CEO Tim Cook. Details aren't clear yet, but some of Cook's comments have led industry analysts to suspect that Apple might be helping Foxconn Technology Group (Apple's Taiwanese manufacturing partner) to establish a U.S. factory. Lenovo Group, a Chinese firm and HP rival, also recently announced plans to manufacture tablet devices and PCs in the U.S. soon.

It's widely known that domestic wages are rising at a much slower rate than China's 15 to 20 percent per year pace. Moving manufacturing to the United States will bring products closer to consumers, save shipping costs and headaches, and also boost public relations efforts. As a U.S. consumer and worker, I'd say that's a win-win all around. Happy Holidays to all!

Frances Richards