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Central Region

central-minnesota-mapCentral Minnesota is a manufacturing stronghold, with several global manufacturing firms operating there.

The region is especially well known for its expertise in food processing, printing, furniture manufacturing, appliances, machinery and heavy equipment manufacturing.

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Advancing the Global Economy with Advanced Manufacturing

10/13/2016 10:09:32 AM

Luke Greiner

Manufacturers in Central Minnesota produce everything from poultry to precision parts, however a cluster of manufacturing sectors collectively known as “advanced manufacturing” is special to Central Minnesota’s manufacturing community.

Advanced manufacturing includes sub-sectors such as fabricated metal products, machinery, computer and electronic products, electrical equipment, appliance, and components, transportation equipment and miscellaneous manufacturing.

Although food manufacturing is the largest sub-sector in the region, when the sub-sectors within advanced manufacturing are combined, employment reaches 18,824 jobs – more the double the employment found in food manufacturing. Advanced manufacturing not only has a large number of jobs (45 percent of all manufacturing jobs in the region), but the sector is growing faster than manufacturing in general.

In the last year, Central Minnesota’s job growth across all industries amounted to 1.7 percent, while manufacturing grew by 2.3 percent, and advanced manufacturing growth was 2.5 percent from 2014 to 2015. Half of all new jobs in manufacturing over the last year were due to advanced manufacturing companies expanding their payrolls.

Average annual wages for advanced manufacturing were $53,442 in 2015, up 5.7 percent from 2014. In comparison the average annual wage for all industries in Central Minnesota was just under $40,000 while manufacturing jobs averaged a little more than $50,000 (see Figure 1).

Average Annual Wages in Central Minnesota, 2015

In the second quarter of 2016, manufacturers reported 839 job openings, up from 610 openings reported during the second quarter of the previous year. The median wage offer for job vacancies was nearly the same at $15 per hour. Only 3 percent of manufacturing openings in the region were posted as part-time, while 37 percent required education beyond a high school diploma/GED, and 48 percent required at least one or more years of experience.

Typical occupations found in advanced manufacturing facilities include team assemblers, machinists, welders, CNC operators, and industrial, mechanical and electrical engineers. These occupations are not exclusive to advanced manufacturing, however, and are also found in a variety of other sectors of manufacturing.

Figure 2 (below) illustrates the large range of hourly wages that can be earned by common occupations in advanced manufacturing. With roughly 2,200 jobs apiece, team assemblers and welders are the most numerous occupations in Central Minnesota, with wages ranging between $12 and $25 per hour. There are 440 mechanical engineers in Central Minnesota, with a median hourly wage of $33.46, and the top 10 percent earning $81.23 or more per hour.

Typical Advanced Manufacturing Occupations in Central Minnesota, Q1 2016

While the global economy leans on advanced manufacturing to produce everything from buses and trailers to stainless steel tanks used in breweries and dairies, Central Minnesota can count on this sector to provide ample job opportunities with excellent wages.

For More Information

Contact Luke Greiner at 320-308-5378.

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