Great Lakes States Remain a Manufacturing Powerhouse

The Great Lakes states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin remain an economic development powerhouse particularly in the field of manufacturing.  Manufacturing jobs, known as production jobs for federal government wage analysis purposes, pay on average $43,000 constituting high-wage jobs. 

Measuring industry concentration in an area illustrates industry strengths. This is measured by a review of the industry cluster and location quotient for the success of these clusters.  An industry cluster is comprised of a geographic concentration of firms within an industry. The location quotient is an indicator of the economic concentration of a certain industry in a state, region, county, or city compared to a base economy, such as a state or nation.  A location quotient greater than 1 indicates a concentration of that industry in the area. A location quotient greater than 1 typically indicates an industry that is export oriented.  An industry with a location quotient of 1 with a high number of jobs present is likely a big exporter and is bringing economic value to the community feeding the retail trade and food services sectors.  The location quotient is an indicator of past success but is also a harbinger of future success. 

As the table above illustrates, the Great Lakes states all have a higher-than-average number of manufacturing production jobs with Indiana leading the list of having a higher concentration of manufacturing jobs than other Great Lakes states. In fact, Indiana has the highest concentration of manufacturing production workers in the United States with Wisconsin coming in second.  The top 10 U.S. manufacturing states include many of the Great Lake’s states, but also other Midwest and Southern states as illustrated by the table below.  The inclusion of Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina in the top 10 U.S. manufacturing states list illustrates the success of the southern states over the last fifty years but the Great Lakes and Midwest remain strong industrial markets.

The Great Lakes states illustrate substantial manufacturing strength in a range of industries as outlined in the chart below.

The Great Lakes states of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin have at or near double the national average of jobs in primary metal, plastics, and rubber products, machinery, fabricated metal product manufacturing, paper, electrical equipment, appliance and component, transportation equipment, printing and related support activities, and furniture and related product manufacturing.  In fact, these states are above the national average in nearly every industry category measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and with the development of the Intel “fab” project in Ohio and several Electric Vehicle battery and supply chain projects in the region, the manufacturing base of employers should remain strong for the Great Lakes states.