“Does this cause inflation because there is not enough product being produced?” Yes, insufficient manufacturing output due to a large extent to the lack of manufacturing labor. Unions and management just can’t come to terms on labor rates to continue to produce goods at a price that is attractive to the rest of the world. Additionally, there is currently a crisis in the availability of shipping containers in all Asian seaports and the container shipping lines have effected massive ocean freight price increases. For many commodities, the cost to ship from Asia exceeds the price of the goods in the container. Containers that were costing in the $2,500 range just a few months ago are now going for $10,000. Many of us are holding huge amounts of inventory in our Asian warehouses hoping ocean freight will come down after Chinese New Year, but I am doubtful we will see more than a token reduction, hence cost increases = price increases to the consumer. And don’t talk to me about “Buy American” as even the goods we manufacture here require raw materials, and sub-component parts not available in the US.
“China’s economic growth is slowing, right?” Yes, that is true, however, they still continue to grow at a stunning rate compared to our US anemic growth rate, to a large extent due to their growing middle class that now can afford (through hard work which is quite lacking in the US) more and better higher-end consumer goods.
“The kids here used to flood to China for jobs because it was easier to find work there” - That was true when the Chinese needed us but no longer true now that they have begged, borrowed, stolen, and developed their own technologies
“I was starting to make plans to move to India for work” - You would not believe the number of brilliant, well educated, software developers in India driving cabs and doing menial tasks who would jump at an opportunity to work 70-80 hours a week for a compensation package of $1200 - $1500 per month. Companies like ours moved our IT to our offices in India many years ago, not for the cost savings, but it was the only way we could get our IT projects done on time. The cost savings everyone talks about was just the icing on the cake. Work here if you can, the financial and work/life balance will be far better than in Asia.