The 2007 legislation which bans incandescent light bulbs by 2014 is manifesting disagreeable consequences in manufacturing. Most major lighting manufacturers have spent the last few years refocusing their operations toward a more energy efficient end. Unfortunately for factory workers in the US, energy efficient light bulbs
construction is much more manual-labor intensive. The increase in cost causes manufacturers to look for cheaper ways to do business, and one of the first things to be done is usually moving manual labor jobs to China.
Light Bulbs Manufacturing
Outsourcing light bulbs jobs to China is ironic considering the promises made by our government that the move to energy efficient lighting would create more manufacturing jobs. The US is home to many of the energy efficient light bulbs innovations; compact fluorescent light bulbs
were invented by GE engineer Ed Hammer. The production of CFLs was streamlined by a Chinese immigrant to the US named Ellis Yan. Yan then brought the jobs with him to China to take advantage of the supremely cheap labor.
Yan and other purveyors of light bulbs have said that because customers have expressed a desire for goods made in America, they would consider moving their production of light bulbs back to the US. Displaced workers probably find little solace in that, but it would be a good step toward manufacturing light bulbs right here in the US. The cost of doing business in the US is about 10% higher than in China, which explains why so many jobs are moved overseas.
Energy Efficient Light Bulbs Made in USA
The jobs overseas issue was addressed by President Obama in an August 16th speech. He said "When new batteries to store solar power come off the line, I want to see printed on the side, 'Made in America.' When new technologies are developed and new industries are formed, I want them made right here in America. That's what we're fighting for." He's certainly speaking the right words, but what is being done and what can be done at all is unclear at this point.