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Business leaders talk of bringing jobs back to U.S.

Oracle president Safra Catz talks about the company’s Montana operations in Bozeman during her keynote address Tuesday morning.

Associated Press

Oracle president Safra Catz talks about the company’s Montana operations in Bozeman during her keynote address Tuesday morning.

HELENA, Mont. — Business leaders from Oracle, Ford and Boeing said Tuesday their companies have found that it makes sense to bring jobs back to the United States — even to smaller cities in places such as Montana.

Oracle president Safra Catz, speaking to a gathering of several thousand business leaders and others at a jobs summit in Butte, said her company has been centering its cloud computing division in the nearby mountain town of Bozeman.

The company has found that cheaper labor isn't always worth it and has brought some jobs back from Mexico to the United States, she said.

"It is really, really simple: Employees are our company," Catz said. "Everything of value that we are is coming from, and in, the heads of our people."

Boeing CEO Jim McNerney told the crowd that locating workers outside the country is no longer as compelling as the cost of business increases overseas. He pointed out that wages overseas have been increasing.

Boeing has had mixed results on outsourcing jobs overseas. Some critics have blamed past production delays on the company's decision to offshore critical components.

"The long-term upside for workers is that American companies are about as well positioned as they have been in decades to compete and win on a global scale," McNerney said.

The CEO announced a $35 million expansion for Boeing's Helena, Mont., plant that will add as many as 25 jobs at a facility that specializes in making critical airplane parts. He thanked U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, who introduced Boeing leaders to the local plant that the larger company purchased in 2010, for helping make the latest expansion possible.

Baucus organized the Butte jobs conference.

Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford, said the company invested heavily during the recession in revamping and modernizing a more fuel-efficient car line. Part of that effort has been focused on returning manufacturing to the United States. He said the company is moving the production of the Fusion line from Mexico to the United States. He said smart public-private partnerships are needed to further improve American competitiveness.

Business leaders talk of bringing jobs back to U.S. 09/17/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 10:40pm]
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