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Facts About Manufacturing Today

What is it really like to work in manufacturing?

Manufacturing has changed quite a bit over the last couple of decades. So what's "modern manufacturing" really like now?

Manufacturing jobs pay well.
In 2009, the average Minnesota manufacturing worker earned $68,320 in a year, including benefits. The average non-manufacturing worker earns nearly $15,000 less per year, according to the National Association of Manufacturers.

There are lots of manufacturing jobs in Minnesota.
Manufacturing represents nearly 11 percent of all jobs in the state. That's more than 340,000 positions. Some of the largest manufacturing industries are electric instrument manufacturing, animal processing, machine shops and threaded products, and general purpose machinery manufacturing, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Manufacturing jobs are clean, safe, and evolving.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, conditions have improved from the past for production workers in machinery manufacturing. New facilities are clean, well lighted, and temperature controlled. Tasks that used to be labor intensive are often automated now. Injuries are less common when proper safety procedures are followed. Noise levels can still be high in larger production facilities, and some workers do need to work with oil, grease, or chemicals that require special handling. Some manufacturing jobs still require moderate levels of lifting or special care in the use of some machinery. But manufacturing work continues to evolve and is not seen — as it once was — as dull, dirty, and dangerous work.

The United States still makes things.
According to David Huether, Chief Economist for the National Association of Manufacturers, the biggest misconception about manufacturing is that the United States doesn't make anything. In a recent interview, Huether stated that "the United States remains the largest manufacturing economy in the world by a healthy margin. As recently as 2008, the U.S. accounted for more than a fifth (21%) of worldwide manufacturing output, far ahead of the next two leading manufacturing economies of Japan (13%) and China (12%). And until the recession began in late 2007, U.S. manufacturing output was at an all-time high."

The decline in manufacturing jobs has been global.
While it is true that there have been fewer manufacturing jobs in the United States, it is also true of manufacturing jobs in other countries. China, South Korea, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, France, and Italy have also seen a decline. Manufacturing employment grew in Minnesota in 2010, performing better than most other sectors of the economy. Current data on employment levels are available from Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Minnesota is a competitive place for manufacturing.
A 2008 Beacon Hill Institute study ranked Minnesota as the seventh most competitive state. They based their rankings on eight indicators, including infrastructure, technology, and business incubation.