Southeast Minnesota Manufacturing Picture Coming into Focus


by Mark Schultz ~

Minnesota Manufacturers Week is an excellent opportunity to bring attention and focus to the manufacturing industry throughout the state, especially in Southeast Minnesota. With 36,634 jobs at 665 firms, manufacturing accounts for 15.6% of total employment in the region. That’s much more concentrated than in the state as a whole, where 11.4 percent of total jobs are in manufacturing.

Following the 2001 recession that affected all industries, manufacturing also saw a job decline in 2002, then remained relatively stable for the next 4 years, while other industries started to grow. During the more severe Great Recession in 2007, all industries including manufacturing saw significant drops all the way through 2010. Since then, the economy has started to see job gains again, although manufacturing has not seen the same level of growth as was seen across all industries.

SEMN Figure 1

Source: DEED Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) data tool

Southeast Minnesota has a wide variety of manufacturing employment, ranging from food to computer and electronic products to medical devices. One unique sector is motor vehicle parts manufacturing, which makes up about 2% of total manufacturing jobs in the region.

Average weekly wages for manufacturing jobs were $1,027, which was more than 20 percent higher than the total of all industries.  Table 1 offers information on some of the largest manufacturing occupations in Southeast Minnesota, but this is just a snapshot of the available manufacturing jobs in the region.  There are several jobs in the manufacturing industry that pay higher than the median hourly wage for all occupations ($17.07).

SEMN Table 1

October 19-25 was 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.

Mark Schulz is the Southeast/South Central Regional Analyst for the Minnesota Department of Economic and Economic Development (DEED).

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