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Southeast Region

southeast-minnesota-mapSoutheast Minnesota is a health care and agricultural powerhouse. The region is home to the renowned Mayo Clinic and some of the world's most recognized food companies and brands.

Advanced manufacturing is especially strong here, with machinery, chemicals, and electronics among the top products.

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Embracing Technology in Southeast Minnesota Manufacturing

4/13/2022 9:00:00 AM

According to the Association for Advancing Automation, "Today's leading manufacturers are not simply product innovators, but technology innovators. For most of the industry, the days of separate and siloed machines are long gone. Today, manufacturing equipment is often a vast network of chips, sensors, and data that communicates across the facility floor and to cloud-based networks on or off-site."1

There is no doubt that manufacturing is relying more heavily on technology to aid in streamlining the production process. From advancements in artificial intelligence and robotics to technologies that allow manufacturers to reach a broader network of consumers more readily and effectively, the strides made in technology will continue having an impact on the Manufacturing industry in Southeast Minnesota.

Southeast Minnesota is a powerhouse when it comes to Manufacturing. In fact, Manufacturing accounts for 15.1% of total jobs in the region, coming in as second highest after Health Care & Social Assistance. The Manufacturing industry in the region is made up of 18 sub-sectors, with the highest number of jobs, by far, being in Food Manufacturing (9,993 jobs) followed by Computer and Electronic Manufacturing (4,387 jobs), Machinery Manufacturing (4,179 jobs), Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing (4,029 jobs) and Nonmetallic Mineral Product Manufacturing (2,539 jobs) (Figure 1). Together, these five sub-sectors account for over two-thirds of the total Manufacturing jobs in the region. However, it is likely that advances in technology are going to have an impact on all 18 sub-sectors.

Southeast Manufacturing Industry Breakdown

While technological advances may help manufacturing companies boost productivity and subsequently increase revenue, some people wonder if these technological advances are going to have an adverse effect on employees.  Many experts believe that technology- driven automation will take the place of some parts of the manufacturing process currently carried out by humans.

Based on a report from Oxford Economics, this is exactly what is predicted to happen. According to this report, "By 2030, we estimate that as many as 20 million additional manufacturing jobs worldwide could be displaced due to robotization."2 While this report is talking about a worldwide phenomenon, undoubtedly the Southeast region of Minnesota is not exempt from this trend. However, this report also posits that this rise in the use of robotics will also lead to "the creation of new jobs in yet-to-exist industries."

The impact of this "robotization" could be twofold, with both sides of the proverbial coin being related to the labor force shortage. First, in regard to the displacement of the workforce, many employers are already feeling immense strain due to labor force shortages (the current jobseeker-per-vacancy ratio sits at 0.5-to-1 in Southeast Minnesota). In addition, new positions created to develop and operate robotics and other automation could offer better pay than many existing manufacturing positions. Therefore, one could argue that robots or more advanced technology could fill the gaps left by a sparse workforce and might be beneficial to manufacturing companies as well as to workers who would be needed for those new positions to support automation.

Of course, Manufacturing is not the only industry that experiences the impact of emerging automation and artificial intelligence technologies. Industries such as Retail Trade, Transportation and Warehousing, and Health Care are just a few of the many that might experience both the pros and cons of new technologies that are on the horizon.

1Source: Association for Advancing Automation

2Source: Oxford Economics

For More Information

Contact Mark Schultz.

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