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As people have been pointing out

Joe Biden’s plans to boost the US microchip industry have been dealt a setback after the opening of a key factory in Arizona was delayed until at least 2025.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), which has been building the plant since 2021, said the start of production would be pushed back from 2024 to 2025.

TSMC chairman Dr Mark Liu blamed the delay on a shortage of qualified US workers, saying there was “an insufficient amount of skilled workers with the specialised expertise required for equipment installation in a semiconductor-grade facility.”

If the trained labour was out there then someone would already have been making semiconductors in the US, right?

10 thoughts on “As people have been pointing out”

  1. Surely there must be lots of suitably qualified amongst the wetbacks coming across the southern border. Just like all the similar landing on Kent beaches are all rocket scientists, brain surgeons & mathematicians. Despite being only 14 years old of course.

  2. If the trained labour was out there then someone would already have been making semiconductors in the US, right?

    The labour used to be out there and semiconductors used to be made in the US (pretty much founded the industry, as in industry). But the siren of foreign-government subsidised offshoring called and off it went, along with the supply chains. The US was left with military and science / development.

    And, despite the voices of short-termist economists saying that’s a really good thing and should be encouraged – it turns out that’s a really fucking stupid thing to do for a country the size of the US (see also steel, chemicals, etc). And now it’s all coming back as fast as they can manage.

    It’s perfectly sensible for Taiwan to delay that as long as possible so that the US remains interested in its security.

  3. The trained labor is already in the United States. The problem is that it is already employed. There is no reserve army of unemployed clean room technicians available to staff new foundries. Thus TSMC would have to pay a premium to get those folks to leave their current job and take a flyer on something new. Intel, Global Foundries, et al., have lots of people in those roles.

    The government could help out by offering citizenship to people in say, Taiwan, to come and fill those gaps. I’m sure the current unsettled political situation there is a good inducement. The problem is that those people are entirely too conservative for the current administration.

  4. Joe Biden’s plans . . .

    Aside from jokes about Joe Biden not being able to plan pulling up his undies, it’s worth noting that this deglobalising re-shoring lark has been back office policy since before Trump.

  5. Exactly the same as nuclear engineers in this country. The ones we had have mainly retired (or died), most youngsters didn’t see any point in studying the subject, so we need Chinese help to built nukes.

    Technology isn’t like riding a bike, the skills fade if there’s no use for them.

  6. The problem is that those people are entirely too conservative for the current administration.

    And white. Yes, even from Taiwan. See Harvard vs Asian Americans.

  7. Theophrastus (2066)

    “If the trained labour was out there then someone would already have been making semiconductors in the US, right?”

    Non sequitur. Business investors look at the cost of those skills – in employee pay (+ oncosts), in energy,in tax, etc. And then perhaps decide it’s cheaper to train a workforce elsewhere. There’s a lot of steel-making skill left in Sheffield, so why is its steel industry not booming?

  8. Sheffield was “specialist” steel. It’s still where the specialist market is. It’s also where you preferentially go to set up any specialist metals business today. Where Metalysis did go in fact.

  9. Who’d a thunk that offshoring would destroy the skills base of the US and every other country that practised it?

  10. Was listening to a podcast about some guys wanted to start making boots in the US, their biggest problem was all the industrial equipment had gone, they ended up spending a year refurbishing old stuff that had been left to rot.
    Having worked in the semiconductor equipment industry the people doing installs travel a lot so lack of locals isn’t the issue for installation, people to maintain and run the installed equipment is another issue entirely.
    Some of this stuff going wrong can cause a very nasty accident, our fire evacuation plans included checking which way the wind was blowing before selecting the appropriate safe place

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