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Manufacturing Strength: Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing in the Twin Cities

by Tim O'Neill
June 2015

Vital Sector

Manufacturing is integral to the Twin Cities’ economy. With 4,072 establishments supplying over 165,300 jobs, manufacturing is the metro’s second largest employing industry sector. Manufacturing takes the top spot for total annual compensation, however, despite having 80,000 less jobs than healthcare and social assistance. For the average manufacturing worker annual wages equal $68,850. This is 23 percent higher than the annual wage for all industries.

This article will focus on fabricated metal product manufacturing, one of the most distinguishing manufacturing subsectors in the Twin Cities.

From its North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) definition, fabricated metal product manufacturing industries transform manufactured metal shapes into intermediate or end products. Important processes within this sector include forging, stamping, bending, forming, and machining to shape individual pieces of metal, and welding or assembling to join separate parts together. This industry can be further broken down into the following subsectors: forging and stamping; cutlery and hand-tool manufacturing; architectural and structural metals manufacturing; boiler, tank, and shipping container manufacturing; hardware manufacturing; spring and wire product manufacturing; machine shops; coating, engraving, heat treating, and allied activities; and other fabricated metal product manufacturing.

As of 2014 there were 843 fabricated metal product manufacturing establishments in the Twin Cities, far more than any other Manufacturing subsector. With 24,197 covered jobs, this subsector accounts for over one in seven manufacturing jobs, trailing only computer and electronic product manufacturing (see Table 1).


Table 1: Manufacturing Employment in the Twin Cities, Annual 2014

Industry

Number of Firms

Number
of Jobs

Percent of Total Employment

Annual
Payroll

Average Annual Wage

Total, All Industries

78,354

1,641,547

100.0%

$95,452,041,798

$55,900

Manufacturing

4,072

165,322

10.1%

$11,839,768,016

$68,850

Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing

319

35,176

21.3%

$3,447,550,562

$94,200

Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing

843

24,197

14.6%

$1,460,389,796

$58,000

Miscellaneous Manufacturing

577

17,312

10.5%

$1,290,726,854

$71,750

Machinery Manufacturing

381

17,012

10.3%

$1,282,608,594

$72,500

Printing and Related Support Activities

448

14,813

9.0%

$880,352,659

$57,150

Food Manufacturing

247

11,557

7.0%

$534,963,937

$44,500

Plastics and Rubber Products Manufacturing

199

8,864

5.4%

$505,614,472

$54,850

Chemical Manufacturing

154

6,893

4.2%

$559,094,116

$78,000

Paper Manufacturing

82

4,714

2.9%

$304,628,383

$62,100

Electrical Equipment, Appliance, and Component Manufacturing

79

4,612

2.8%

$330,612,762

$68,950

Furniture and Related Product Manufacturing

236

4,242

2.6%

$234,858,749

$53,200

Wood Product Manufacturing

109

3,899

2.4%

$216,929,843

$53,600

Primary Metal Manufacturing

43

3,491

2.1%

$210,642,531

$58,000

Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing

16

2,260

1.4%

$245,523,597

$104,850

Nonmetallic Mineral Product Manufacturing

87

1,978

1.2%

$126,104,946

$61,100

Beverage and Tobacco Product Manufacturing

34

1,591

1.0%

$82,468,549

$50,000

Transportation Equipment Manufacturing

75

1,398

0.8%

$78,404,137

$53,850

Textile Product Mills

73

590

0.4%

$19,241,242

$31,350

Apparel Manufacturing

54

324

0.2%

$11,544,045

$34,150

Leather and Allied Product Manufacturing

6

208

0.1%

$9,051,145

$41,800

Textile Mills

11

187

0.1%

$8,457,097

$43,550

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


Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing has a location quotient of 1.33 in the Twin Cities and accounts for 1.7 percent of the metro area’s total employment. Anoka County has the greatest concentration with a location quotient of 6.48. With over 8,400 such manufacturing jobs, this industry accounts for 8 percent of the county’s total employment. Location quotients above 1.20 are considered significant and imply the exporting of products or services.

A Sector Hit Hard

Unfortunately, manufacturing has been losing jobs in the Twin Cities, in no small part caused by the recent Great Recession. In steady decline since 2000, manufacturing was hit hard between 2007 and 2010, shedding nearly 25,900 jobs. This 14.2 percent loss was much more severe than the 5.3 percent decline witnessed by the total labor market.

Making up nearly 15 percent of total manufacturing employment, fabricated metal product manufacturing was not spared from the Great Recession. Shedding 4,180 jobs between 2007 and 2010, only printing and related support activities lost more jobs in the manufacturing sector. Most fabricated metal product manufacturing jobs lost in the metro were in Hennepin County, where the sector declined by 18.4 percent. While numeric losses were less than in Hennepin County, Ramsey, Dakota, and Washington counties each lost over one-fifth of their fabricated metal product manufacturing jobs. Anoka County, while losing 878 fabricated metal product jobs, declined by a less severe 10.7 percent (see Table 2).


Table 2: Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing Trends in the Twin Cities, Annual 2007-2014

Area

2014 Number of Jobs

Recession Job Change
2007-2010

Recovery Job Change
2010-2014

Overall Job Change
2007-2014

Numeric

Percent

Numeric

Percent

Numeric

Percent

Minnesota

42,496

-6,882

-15.8%

5,720

15.6%

-1,162

-2.7%

Seven-County Metro

24,197

-4,180

-16.3%

2,754

12.8%

-1,426

-5.6%

Hennepin County

8,580

-1,766

-18.4%

749

9.6%

-1,017

-10.6%

Anoka County

8,428

-878

-10.7%

1,097

15.0%

219

2.7%

Ramsey County

2,838

-612

-20.0%

394

16.1%

-218

-7.1%

Dakota County

2,695

-552

-20.6%

570

26.8%

18

0.7%

Washington County

686

-196

-24.5%

83

13.8%

-113

-14.1%

Carver County

571

-127

-19.3%

41

7.7%

-86

-13.1%

Scott County

398

-48

-7.7%

-181

-31.3%

-229

-36.5%

Source: DEED QCEW Program

A Sector Recovers

Contributing $43.7 billion to Minnesota’s economy and accounting for 16 percent of the state’s gross domestic product, Manufacturing’s resurgence since 2010 could not be more welcome. The Twin Cities gained 2,754 fabricated metal product jobs between 2010 and 2014, leading the recovery. With a growth rate of 12.8 percent, this subsector has more than doubled Manufacturing’s growth rate of 5.6 percent and far out-paced the total labor market’s growth rate of 6.8 percent.

In the Twin Cities Anoka County was responsible for nearly 40 percent of fabricated metal product manufacturing jobs gained between 2010 and 2014. Dakota County also made notable gains in this subsector, growing by 26.8 percent during the same period of time. Only Scott County witnessed losses in this subsector between 2010 and 2014, with most of its manufacturing gains coming from printing and related support activities and food manufacturing.

Overall, fabricated metal product manufacturing in the Twin Cities is still approximately 1,400 jobs or 5.6 percent below its 2007 employment level. Comparatively, all of Manufacturing is 9.4 percent below its 2007 employment level. Both Anoka County and Dakota County, however, have 2014 employment levels in this subsector exceeding their 2007 levels, with Hennepin County still over 1,000 jobs below its pre-recession level (see Table 2).

A Positive Outlook

On the heels of steady employment recovery since 2010, fabricated metal product manufacturing is anticipated to add more jobs in the Twin Cities through 2022. With a projected growth rate of 5.2 percent, this industry is not expected to grow as fast as the total of all industries, but is expected to do much better than Manufacturing as a whole (see Table 3).


Table 3: Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing Employment Outlook in the Twin Cities, 2012-2022

Industry

Estimated 2012 Employment

Projected 2022 Employment

Percent Change, 2012-2022

Numeric Change 2012-2022

Total, All Industries

1,738,875

1,871,483

7.6%

132,608

Manufacturing

162,060

156,947

-3.2%

-5,113

Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing

23,299

24,518

5.2%

1,219

Source: DEED Employment Outlook Tool


With fabricated metal product manufacturing expanding throughout the Twin Cities since 2010 and positive growth projected through 2022, a number of occupations are in high demand. One of these occupations is Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers. Through 2022 this occupation is anticipated to grow by 32 percent, with a need for 260 total hires. The $25.47 median hourly wage for Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators is also much higher than the cost-of-living wage for a typical family of three in the Twin Cities, $17.92. Other occupations those interested in fabricated metal product manufacturing should check out include welders, machinists, team assemblers, and structural metal fabricators (see Table 4).


Table 4: 10 Occupations in Demand in Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing, Twin Cities

Occupational Title

Median Hourly Wage 2014

Estimated Employment 2012

Projected Employment 2022

2012-2022 Employment Change

Percent

Numeric

Replacement Hires

Total Hires

Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers

$21.24

3,076

3,253

5.8%

177

760

940

Machinists

$23.01

6,706

7,418

10.6%

712

1,540

2,250

First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating

$28.99

7,015

6,926

-1.3%

-89

990

990

Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers

$25.47

444

585

31.8%

141

120

260

Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, and Weighers

$18.98

4,719

4,942

4.7%

223

1,040

1,260

Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal

$19.63

2,387

2,769

16.0%

382

670

1,050

Production Workers, All Other

$14.66

4,581

5,019

9.6%

438

1,200

1,640

Team Assemblers

$14.01

10,777

11,162

3.6%

385

1,700

2,080

General and Operations Managers

$47.35

23,993

25,903

8.0%

1,910

4,490

6,400

Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters

$19.29

1,310

1,334

1.8%

24

530

550

Source: DEED Employment Outlook Tool, Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Program


Manufacturing’s economic importance, especially in the Twin Cities, is often recognized behind Health Care, Construction, and Professional Services. Additionally, Manufacturing jobs are often labeled as dirty and low-paying. Recent trends and realities, however, are cutting into these perceptions. For those interested in rewarding, high-tech, high-paying jobs, look no further than Manufacturing.

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