“Made in America” was an overarching theme in President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday. “That means make more cars,” he clarified, “and semiconductors in America. More infrastructure and innovation in America. More goods moving faster and cheaper in America. More jobs where you can earn a good living in America.”
Biden emphasized this point in regards to U.S. domestic semiconductor manufacturing ability. Semiconductor production in the U.S. has decreased from nearly 40% to 12% over the past few decades. That drop has had a significant impact on the U.S. economy and national security. Chips are essential in a technology-driven world. This boost in domestic production is a necessity.
Pat Gelsinger, Intel’s CEO, was in the audience. He sat alongside first lady, Dr. Jill Biden, and Ukrainian ambassador Oksana Markarova.
“Intel’s CEO, Pat Gelsinger, who is here tonight,” President Biden said. “Told me they are ready to increase their investment from $20 billion to $100 billion. That would be one of the biggest investments in manufacturing in American history.” This is in reference to Intel’s new chip manufacturing plants planned for Ohio. The mega-site will be 20 miles east of Columbus, Ohio, where 1,000 miles of empty land awaits.
President Biden called this site a “field of dreams, the ground on which America’s future will be built.” The planned investment needs Congressional passing of the America Competes Act. This proposed law includes the CHIPS Act, which already gained Senate approval. The act will fund new chip fabs, semiconductor development and research, and aid to build these facilities.
The increased attention in domestic production is a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the supply chain disruptions that came with it. The lack of self-sufficiency resulted in dozens of shortages from cars to coffee. The semiconductor shortage is the most prominent and lasting.
In 2021, 230,000 manufacturing jobs were transferred to the U.S., a large increase from 170,000 in 2020. With new semiconductor plants expected to begin construction in Texas and Arizona alongside Intel’s mega-plant in Ohio, the amount of long-term jobs is set to increase.
Intel’s $100 billion investment hinges on the House passing the America Competes Act. But the future of U.S. semiconductor manufacturing is moving in the right direction.