Surprisingly, the economic turnaround of the US economy has been led by manufacturing. Its a complicated story that includes the resurgence of innovative companies that develop small run, highly engineered products that require more skilled artisan-like workers. A second part of the growth of manufacturing has been around insourcing. No longer considered a trend, large companies like GE are placing big bets on US manufacturing facilities. Why? Again the story is complicated but one explanation is to protect intellectual property from knockoffs developed by outsourcing firms. Another is the changing role of labor. In advanced manufacturing, the walls between production and design are being broken down (in ways similar to what I described in Brew to Bikes:Portland’s Artisan Economy) For more on insourcing, check out two recent media stories, NPR’s Not Just Patriotic, US Manufacturing May be Smart and the Atlantic Magazine’s The Insourcing Boom.