Since the introduction of the CHIPS Act in early 2020, the US has seen an increase in private investment.
Companies in the semiconductor industry have announced a large quantity of projects to increase the manufacturing capacity across the states. Some of these projects were even underway before the Act was put into law, relying on the eventual introduction of the Act and the accompanying funding.
The varied projects include ones to build, expand or upgrade fabs specialising in different areas. There are also plans for new semiconductor equipment facilities and factories to produce materials for semiconductors.
Thanks to this early action, some projects could be finished as early as 2024. Others, announced after the implementation of the CHIPS Act, will begin construction this year.
There are plans for at least 23 new fabs, and 9 expansions to existing facilities. This, in turn, has encouraged investment in equipment and material facilities. Altogether, both fabs and all the surrounding investment, is estimated to come to almost $200 billion.
Alongside the vast amount of investment to be spent on the industry, it could also create around 40,000 jobs. According to a 2021 study, this number of jobs could have a much bigger impact. For every direct employee of the semiconductor industry, an additional 5.7 jobs are supported in the wider economy.
The CHIPS Act provides $280 billion in funding over the next 10 years. Most of this is for scientific R&D and commercialization.
$2 billion of funding will be allocated the Department of Defense, funding research, fabrication and training. Another $500 million will go to the Department of State to work with foreign government partners on supply chain security.
For the last few years the risks of sourcing chips from overseas have been shown in all their glory. Compared to the 37% of global semiconductors made in the US in the 90s, only 12% are made here now. The CHIPS Act was introduced to reduce the reliance on other countries, and boost commerce and employment domestically.
Despite this, some experts say that the CHIPS Act may not be able to cover the costs it intends to. GS Research said due to the higher production costs in the US vs Taiwan, the funding may not cover it. Although they expect the Act will increase production, they do not believe it will make a difference of more than 1% to the US share of global chip capacity.
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