It’s safe to say that most of the products we use daily were manufactured somewhere. From the clothes we wear to the cars we drive, a long line of wheels must be set in motion before the things we own end up in our hands. That’s why manufacturing and the people who manufacture are so important.
Whether you have a product that needs manufacturing or need a manufacturer to make that product, finding the best team for the job is paramount to your product’s success and your businesses survival. These 10 states have an edge over the rest when it comes to manufacturing. From incentives to low tax rates to education programs that encourage students to consider manufacturing careers, these states are leading the country in manufacturing. Here’s why.
With manufacturers in Ohio accounting for 12.56 percent of the state workforce, this Rust Belt state remains a manufacturing powerhouse despite recent shifts in the manufacturing landscape. Though smaller in size than many other states, Ohio is still the third largest in American when it comes to manufacturing, with a total output of $107.95 billion in 2017, and $50.40 billion in exports in 2018. To date, Ohio is home to more than 12,000 manufacturing firms, with 89 percent of those exporters being small businesses.
Boasting total manufacturing output of $96.22 billion in 2017, Michigan has seen a significant resurgence in manufacturing in the past decade. Still king in the motor vehicle and vehicle parts manufacturing marketplace, the Wolverine State has also begun to earn a reputation for manufacturing quality machine parts, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. A small business friendly state, nearly 90 percent of all exporters in Michigan in 2018 were from that sector. Manufactured goods exports in 2018 alone totaled $55.35 billion.
Consistently ranked among the top 10 states for manufacturing in the U.S., the Golden State workforce has nearly 8 percent of its employees working in that sector. California’s total manufacturing output was more than $300 billion in 2017, and 2018 saw nearly $155 billion in exported manufactured goods. With over 25,000 manufacturing firms (of which 93 percent are considered small to medium-sized businesses), California boasts a skilled workforce that is in it for the long haul, with many workers considering manufacturing a career, not just another job. California manufacturing jobs pay an average of over $100,000 in salary and benefits, compared to the U.S. average of $54,329.
Home to its own power grid and no personal or corporate income taxes, Texas is about as business friendly as you can get among the states. With $247.46 billion in manufactured goods exported from the Lone Star State in 2018, manufacturing accounts for 13.33 percent of the total Texas output while employing 7.04 percent of the state’s workforce. They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and the incentive programs in the state are no exception. Between the ample Texas Enterprise Fund, which has invested more than half a billion dollars since 2004, and major cuts to the state’s franchise tax, Texas is poised to remain one of the top manufacturing states in the nation.
The second-largest food and beverage manufacturing state and the overall fifth-largest manufacturing state in America, North Carolina is home to the largest manufacturing workforce in the Southeast. The manufacturing industry employs 460,000 skilled workers in North Carolina–nearly 11 percent of the state’s workforce. North Carolina manufacturing makes up about 20 percent of the state’s gross state product, to the tune of $102.48 billion in 2017 and $31.06 billion in exports in 2018. North Carolina has experienced tremendous growth in manufacturing goods in recent years, with a nearly 35 percent increase in exports from 2010 to 2018. North Carolina’s pro-business climate and expert workforce make it an ideal state for manufacturers.
Manufacturing accounts for nearly 30 percent of the output in Indiana, where $102.59 billion was generated in 2017. Manufacturing accounts for almost 20 percent of the state’s workforce, with 516,900 workers employed in the sector statewide–an estimated one in five workers. In fact, Indiana has the highest concentration of manufacturing jobs in America. With more than 8,500 manufacturing firms already in the state, Indiana is the second-largest automobile manufacturing state in the nation. Along major truck routes and freight lines, goods manufactured in Indiana can reach 75 percent of the U.S. and Canada’s populations within a day’s drive.
With more than 12,000 manufacturing firms in Florida, the state has made a big push in recent years to encourage more manufacturing. With the fifth-lowest corporate income tax in the country, the Sunshine State employs more than 331,000 workers in the manufacturing sector. Your manufactured goods can get to their destination with ease, because Florida’s multi-modal transportation system offers everything from air and rail to deep-water shipping and highways, all at a low cost of living and a low cost of doing business.
Another Southeast state that’s blazing trails in the manufacturing industry, Georgia boasts more 480,000 manufacturing jobs, ensuring that the future remains bright for the industry. That’s why the Peach State developed the Quick Start program and partnered with many in-state universities to teach rising students the skills they need for careers in manufacturing. Industry employs nearly nine percent of Georgia’s workforce across 6,600 firms. In 2018, manufacturers in the state generated $36.81 billion in exports, with a total manufacturing output of $61.06 billion in 2017.
According to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, the state’s growth in advanced manufacturing is higher than anywhere else in the nation; in fact, it’s 42 percent higher than the U.S. average. Manufacturing accounts for 16.13 percent of the state’s total output, which was $55.70 billion in 2017. Tennessee has numerous initiatives to help train its manufacturing workforce, including the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which provides small to medium-sized manufacturers with training and consulting, all with the goal of helping Tennessee-based manufacturers increase competitiveness in the marketplace via workplace initiatives to increase productivity and lower costs.
Over the past decade, South Carolina has seen manufacturing growth of 18 percent, the second largest jump in the Southeast. Manufacturers in the Palmetto State account for a total of nearly 17 percent of the state’s total output and 11.55 percent of South Carolina workers are employed in the manufacturing industry. In 2018, South Carolina’s exported goods totaled $33.89 billion. In 2018, South Carolina earned an A grade in the Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card by Ball State University’s Center for Business and Economic Research and Conexus Indiana. The report rated each state on criteria such as how desirable it is to site selectors, and the share of Income earned by manufacturing workers within the state.