by Cameron Macht

With more than 292,000 jobs in 8,500 businesses, manufacturing remains one of the largest employing industries in the state of Minnesota. In fact, it still accounts for about one in every nine jobs in the state, many of which tend to be higher-paying jobs. However, many jobseekers avoid looking at manufacturing jobs because of outdated perceptions of the industry, fear based on negative news and headlines, or a lack of awareness of the jobs in demand.


Are there jobs available in Minnesota manufacturing?

Jobs data show that Minnesota was gaining manufacturing jobs through the first three quarters of 2010, adding roughly 14,000 jobs. At the end of the year, there were about 3,400 manufacturing job vacancies listed by Minnesota employers, according to DEED’s fourth quarter Job Vacancy Survey. That was nearly double the amount listed in the fourth quarter of 2009, clearly indicating that manufacturing hiring is picking up. And that’s good news if you are in the market for a job in manufacturing.


Where should I look for manufacturing job listings?

In addition to direct hiring, manufacturers are also hiring more people using employment placement agencies, temporary help services, and professional employer organizations. Temporary help services gained nearly 8,000 net new jobs from 2009 to 2010 as manufacturers relied more on this “contingent workforce” to meet their staffing needs. A quick look at the hundreds of manufacturing job postings found on (the state’s online job board) shows that most are now posted by temporary help services rather than the manufacturers themselves. As a job seeker, it’s more important than ever for you to seriously consider these types of services when looking for work in manufacturing. Leaving them out of your job search strategy means you could miss many potential job opportunities.


Region in the state of Minnesota

Where are the manufacturing jobs in Minnesota?

You can find manufacturing across the entire state with about half of the manufacturing jobs located in the seven-county Twin Cities metro area and the other half dispersed in Greater Minnesota. The Twin Cities had about 156,500 manufacturing jobs in 2010. That’s nearly one in every 10 jobs in the region.

In outstate Minnesota, central and southeast Minnesota had the largest number of manufacturing jobs with just over 35,000 industry jobs in 2010.  Two regions—southwest and northwest Minnesota, however, had the highest concentration of manufacturing jobs in the state:


  • In southwest Minnesota, manufacturing accounted for nearly one in every five jobs in the region and just over 30,000 jobs total.
  • In northwest Minnesota, it accounted for one in every eight jobs and had 25,400 total jobs.


The smallest number of manufacturing jobs was in northeast Minnesota. The region had just 8,300 manufacturing jobs, which is only six percent of total employment.


Where is Minnesota manufacturing growing the fastest?

If you’re looking for manufacturing work in greater Minnesota, good news! You can find the highest demand for manufacturing jobs outside the Twin Cities area. In the last year, every region outside the Twin Cities saw faster growth in manufacturing jobs, ranging from a 5.5 percent gain in southeast Minnesota to a nine percent jump in southwest Minnesota. But you can find the biggest gains in northwest Minnesota. That region added almost 2,000 manufacturing jobs from the first quarter to the fourth quarter of 2010. Every region also saw an increase in the number of job vacancies in manufacturing compared to the prior year, with the biggest jump happening in southwest Minnesota.


Where can I go to learn more about Minnesota manufacturing?

You can explore education and career options in manufacturing by visiting ISEEK’s Minnesota Manufacturing Careers website. The website contains detailed information on various manufacturing careers and industries, including a section on green jobs, manufacturing education programs, and occupations in demand for the industry across the state.


Cameron Macht is a labor market analyst for the Central and Southwest Minnesota region at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.