I focused last week on the political economy aspects of an Airbus plant opening in Mobile, Ala., but Stephen Trimble's piece for Flight Global makes it clear that there are some very down-to-earth dollars and cents aspects to this move as "the new factory in Mobile gives Airbus a relatively low-cost manufacturing centre to target a US market expected to generate thousands of orders for narrowbody aircraft over the next 20 years."
Americans are used to thinking of ourselves as a high-wage manufacturing center at risk of losing jobs to low-wage producers in Asia, but in this context Mobile is the low-wage alternative to Hamburg and Toulouse. At the moment the market for A-320 class aircraft is growing strongly, so production in Mobile won't come at the expense of production in Europe. But in the event of a future downturn, European aerospace workers ought to be worried that it's their factories that will get shut down rather than cheaper nonunion ones in the American South.
TODAY IN SLATE
I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.
Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.
After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales
Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos
If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter
Giving Up on Goodell
How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.