by Luke Greiner~

When people think of the jobs that can be found in the manufacturing industry, they typically focus on a relatively short list of only production occupations, such as assemblers or welders.

This makes sense, as nearly 60% of all occupations in manufacturing are classified as “production” jobs in Southwest Minnesota. That means that over 40% (or 16,320 manufacturing occupations) are not. Instead, the manufacturing industry offers a diverse and well compensated mix of occupations.

Not surprisingly, most people consider pay and benefits as the largest deciding factor when pursuing careers.

With that in mind, it is beneficial to know that some industries – particularly manufacturing – pay more for the same job. For example, salespeople selling products related to manufacturing are more likely earn more money than salespeople selling other types of good or services.

Southwest Figure 1
Source: DEED Occupational Employment Statistics tool


Average manufacturing wages are 23% higher than the average for all industries. The median wage for all manufacturing occupations is 12% higher than the median for all occupations across every industry.

What’s more, the median wage for a variety of occupations is higher in manufacturing than the median for all industries in all but three occupational groups.

For example, salespeople employed by manufacturers enjoy the largest advantage by receiving a median wage that is more than double the median wage for salespeople in all other industries. Construction and extraction occupations, such as electricians, plumbers, and sheet metal workers, also pay over 30% more in manufacturing than the median for all industries.

For the student, job seeker, or current employee looking for a career move, manufacturing not only offers a wide variety of jobs, but also has higher median pay in many cases (see graph above).

Did You Know?

October 19-25 is Minnesota Manufacturers Week. Find out more about Minnesota’s manufacturing industries. Or explore the variety of training options and careers related to manufacturing in Minnesota.

Luke Greiner is the Central & Southwest Regional Analyst for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.