Is Manufacturing one of those, “you don’t know what you don’t know” things?

Published On: September 27th, 2016|Categories: Blog|

Or more accurately, why wouldn’t someone look at Manufacturing for a career?

Having recently looked over some wage statistics I received from our local DEED analysist, manufacturers struggle as business people trying to figure out why we cannot fill our open positions.

Why should we be so perplexed?

We do not see much downside to working in manufacturing and offer plenty of upside. Here in SE Minnesota, nearly 20% of all private sector jobs are in manufacturing.  So issues like finding alternative employment, or risking being stuck in one spot are pretty minimal. The skills we utilize are pretty universal and transferrable. The big differentiator is that it offers above average pay.  Manufacturing pays the most! Average weekly wages for manufacturing positions in the region was $1,076, which is 18.4% higher than average weekly wages across all these industries.


Figure 1. Private Sector Jobs by Industry in Southeast Minnesota – 2015 Annual Averages

If you look at the city of Winona and its immediate area, the scales tilt even more. The average weekly wages for manufacturing jobs in Winona are the highest among the 11 industry super sectors. Nearly ¼ of all the wages made in Winona, are made by manufacturing workers. Put another way, the average weekly wage in manufacturing is 39% higher than all other industry sectors combined.


Figure 2. Private Sector Jobs by Industry in Winona, Minnesota – 2015 Annual Averages

One of the big talking points during the election year has been stagnant wages. The moneu has stayed at the top while workers have seen little increase.

Not so in Winona, over the last fifteen years in Winona, average weekly wages in manufacturing have consistently seen growth.  Since 2000, manufacturing wages have jumped by 62% whereas wages across all industries only saw an increase of 47%.  Additionally, wages in manufacturing have consistently been higher than those across all industries and current wages in manufacturing being $282 higher.


Figure 3. Average Weekly Wages of Manufacturing and All Industries

Past blog articles have talked about manufacturing rebuilding itself after years of outsourcing and recession. With numbers like these, you wouldn’t think rebuilding would be so difficult.

If you are presently working hourly positions in leisure, hospitality, or a host of other industries, perhaps you should check out a local manufacturing company. We’re paying better, offer advancement, our skills are transferrable and there are alternative opportunities, (i.e. other manufacturers).

If you are newly leaving school and looking for a career, whether high school or post-secondary, look at manufacturing, we are the opportunity you are looking for.


Thanks to:

Mark Schultz

Regional Labor Market Analyst – Southeast Minnesota

Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

Winona WorkForce Center

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