CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — At the airport here, there is a reminder to travelers of the jobs that global trade can bring. A shiny 2017 Volkswagen Passat is stationed near the entryway and labeled: “Designed in Germany. Built in Chattanooga.”
The American map is dotted with towns drained of jobs after homegrown factories bolted to lower-wage countries. But for many spots throughout the country, the same strategy of moving operations overseas — when practiced by foreign companies — has buoyed local fortunes.
In Chattanooga and the surrounding region, for example, more than two dozen companies from 20 countries have set up shop, generating billions of dollars in investment, employing thousands of workers and helping drive Tennessee’s jobless rate to 3.6 percent in June, a record low for the state.
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