“Hey, Why Can’t We Do This Better?” —Minnesota Manufacturing Week

I have always been impressed by the extent of manufacturing back in Southwest Minnesota.  It seems like every small town has some fabrication or repair shop or farm shop with a guy (or gal) asking, “Hey, why can’t we do this better?”  Well, why can’t we?

Here’s a PR flashback to Minnesota, from the Department of Employment & Economic Development (DEED) with some interesting facts and figures for Minnesota Manufacturing Week:

One thing distinguishes southwestern and south-central Minnesota from other regions of the state: Manufacturing is the No. 1 employer, particularly in the food sector.

Food production accounts for roughly one-third of the region’s 31,000 manufacturing jobs. In fact, a recent analysis by DEED found that the concentration of food production jobs in southwestern Minnesota is nearly four times the national average.

Other major manufacturing sectors are printing and related support activities (4,200 jobs), machinery (3,500), and computers and electronic products (2,300). Chemical manufacturing and miscellaneous manufacturing are expected to be among the fastest-growing industry sectors, with projections indicating both will have job growth of 25 percent or more by the end of the decade.

Better yet for job seekers, manufacturing pays annual wages that are well above the average in the region. A typical manufacturing job pays nearly $42,000 a year, compared with an average salary for all industries of about $34,000 (2011 figures).

The industry is staging a comeback after suffering job losses during the recession. Regional manufacturers added more than 900 jobs last year, accounting for about two-thirds of all job gains in the area during that period.

Manufacturing is such an important part of the economy statewide that the industry is recognized every year during Minnesota Manufacturers Week, held this year from Oct. 22-28. A variety of events are planned, including tours at manufacturing facilities around the state.  For a list of activities and facts about why manufacturing matters, visit the DEED website at www.tinyurl.com/manufacturingmatters.

Highlight from the infographic:  Fastest growing employment in manufacturing includes:

  1. Food manufacturing
  2. Printing
  3. Machinery
  4. Electrical equipment & appliances
  5. Fabricated metal products
  6. Computer & electrical products
  7. Chemical manufacturing

If you’re in Southwest Minnesota and want to pursue the happiness of “Hey, Why Can’t We Do This Better?”, drop a line to my old friends at Southwest Regional Development Commission.



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