New Sites for Industry

December 19, 1956

Report Outline
Spread of Industry into New Areas
Factors Influencing Plant Location
Competition for New Industries
Outlook for Continued Industrial Dispersion

Spread of Industry into New Areas

Outside attractions for manufacturing enterprise are joining with centrifugal forces developed within historic centers of industrial concentration to transform the economic geography of the United States. Location of large factories beyond the usual urban complex received strong impetus when electricity replaced steam as the principal source of industrial power and motor transportation came into general use. Ensuing technological advances added to industrial mobility and World War II greatly accelerated the establishment of plants in new areas, particularly in the South and West. Since the war industry has spread out even more widely—into small communities and rural districts in virtually every section of the country.

New places for branch plants are constantly being sought out by large industrial corporations. Many of them maintain staffs of specialists, and others hire professional firms, to find suitable locations for new productive units. Keen competition for the favor of the “site shoppers” has developed among the states and among communities within the states.

Redistribution of Industrial Employment

While much attention has been given to problems raised by the relocation of industrial establishments—that is, removal of a factory from one community or section and its replacement in another—such shifts make up only a small part of a larger phenomenon. The vast majority of new factory locations represent totally new establishments, reflecting the general expansion of the American economy.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Manufacturing and Industrial Production
Regional Planning and Urbanization