Play-Doh Returns

Well, it certainly isn’t the type of manufacturing activity that will ever employ thousands of American factory workers. And yet it is expected to create twenty new jobs for blue collar workers in the United States.

What is this activity? Hasbro, the Rhode Island based toy company, has decided to return Play-Doh production to America. The firm recently announced that it will contract with a foreign owned Massachusetts based facility to fabricate the goopy toy.

That’s not to say that Hasbro is actually shifting any of its existing Play-Doh supply stream away from its overseas vendors. Instead, it plans to utilize its new American made goods to supplement its Chinese and Turkish made inventories.

Should Americans be proud, or be embarrassed, that their nation is now competitively positioned to compete with China and Turkey for Hasbro’s Play-Doh manufacturing business? On the one hand, some may believe that any growth in production work will inevitably boost the national economy.

But on the other hand, others may believe that this business is precisely the type of simple-technology and limited-employee activity that more comfortably fits an emerging economy than an advanced economy. Indeed, at a time when China is striving to shift its economy towards the production of more advanced technological products, the return of Play-Doh to the United States may represent a portent of a backsliding nation.