By Frank J. Romano January 5, 2004 -- Bob Smith started the day early, having set his alarm clock (made in Japan ) for 6am. While his coffeepot ( made in China ) was perking, he shaved with his electric razor ( made in Hong Kong ). He put on a dress shirt ( made in Sri Lanka ), designer jeans ( made in Singapore ), and tennis shoes ( made in Korea ). After cooking his breakfast in his new electric skillet ( made in India ), he sat down with his calculator (made in Mexico) to see how much he could spend today. After setting his watch ( made in Taiwan ) to the radio ( made in India ), he got in his car ( made in Germany ) and continued his search for a job. At the end of yet another discouraging and fruitless day, Joe decided to relax for a while. He put on his sandals ( made in Brazil ), poured himself a glass of wine ( made in France ), and turned on his TV ( made in Indonesia ), and wondered why he could not find a good- paying job in the United States. The U.S. manufacturing base is slowly dwindling. More than half of the manufactured goods that Americans buy are now made abroad, up from 31 percent in 1987. The proportion of the workforce employed in manufacturing has fallen to 11 percent from 30 percent in the mid-1960s. Two percentage points disappeared in the last two years. Manufacturing's share of real gross domestic product has edged down, even if you include the output of foreign manufacturers operating in the U.S. The share of real GDP has dropped to about 16 percent, from 18 percent in the 1950s. Economists note that the growing volume of imported merchandise would not be possible without loans from abroad to buy these goods. Eventually, imported manufactured goods may be prohibitively expensive, while merchandise exported from the United States will fall in price. Many products are no longer manufactured in the U.S., and as a result, the skill to make them has disappeared. There is hope, however. We are running out of places on earth with cheap labor bases. Remember when “Made in Japan” was common? Then the Japanese standard of living increased and they produced quality, not price. Then there was South Korea. Now it is India and China. Eventually, their people will want a higher standard of living, and they will no longer be the low-cost manufacturing alternatives. Offshoring, as it is called, affects 400,000 jobs today. It is predicted by the analyst firm Forrester that the number will rise to 3.3 million jobs by 2015. Can America lose these jobs and prosper? First, consider that 70% of our jobs are service jobs which cannot be “offshored.” In 2015, we will need 15.6 million new workers. If you project out the aging labor force only a decade, you will see that there will be a natural decline in the working-age population. The “offshored” jobs free up the resultant labor pool to be re-trained into higher-level jobs. It has been calculated by the McKinsey Global Institute that for every $1 sent offshore, U.S. business and consumers gain $1.13 because of reduced costs. Additional revenue is generated because the offshore countries and businesses buy American equipment and services. The bottom line is that offshoring will force us to re-educate our workers for the workplace of the future—in the USA.