Manufacturing month celebrates state's productivity

Monday, September 30, 2019

If you think about it, a drive through the countryside can be a revelation, this time of year, especially.

What were first tiny seeds have grown to tall plants and multiplied a thousand fold as the corn crop nears maturity. Despite difficult growing conditions, and some flooded fields, Nebraska is poised to harvest a record corn crop this year.

Nebraska is usually thought of as an agricultural state, and with good reason. Nearly 50,000 farms and ranches produce crops worth $25 billion to the state’s economy.

But we’re also blessed with a diversity not enjoyed by some agricultural states, with $13 billion worth of manufacturing taking place in Nebraska, a factor that helps maintain low unemployment and make us one of the most recession-resistant states in the nation.

It’s that diversification that Ricketts is celebrating in a swing around the state to kick off Manufacturing Month in Nebraska.

A stop was scheduled at Parker Hannifin Tuesday morning, but the visit was canceled because the factory’s leadership team was called away for an off-site meeting, according to the governor’s office.

“Each October we celebrate Manufacturing Month to highlight companies making world-class products right here in Nebraska,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “Manufacturing is the state’s second-largest industry.  We’ve made investments to connect Nebraskans with the skills needed to excel in great manufacturing opportunities.  We’ve also worked hard to lower costs and cut red tape so that manufacturers can easily set up shop and create jobs in Nebraska.  These steps have already increased manufacturing in our state, and there’s incredible potential to grow Nebraska manufacturing even more.”

Besides the $13 billion annual contribution to the states Gross State Product, manufacturing jobs grew more than 10 percent between December 2009 and July 2019, using seasonally adjusted date, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

And, while the state’s labor costs are relatively low, the average annual compensation for a Nebraska manufacturing job exceeded $62,500 in 2017, and manufacturing exports increased by more than 40% from 2010 to 2018, a total of $6.48 billion.

The BLS reported 1,990 manufacturing firms employed slightly more than 100,000 Nebraskans in the state, one in 10 jobs.

 “Nebraska’s strong manufacturing sector has been a cornerstone of our economic progress,” said Bryan Slone, President of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry.  “It’s also one of the fastest growing industries in our nation for high-tech, high-paying jobs.  The advancement in these industries will be an instrumental source of brain gain for our state over the next decade.”

 Gov. Ricketts has long championed the state’s manufacturing industry for its job creation and economic output.  In 2015, he launched the Developing Youth Talent Initiative (DYTI) to promote manufacturing career awareness among Nebraska youth.  That program, administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED), has introduced over 7,000 seventh and eighth graders to manufacturing careers and concepts.  

  During his tour this week, the Governor will also recognize firms whose recent growth in Nebraska contributed to the state’s three-peat “Governor’s Cup” win in March 2019.  For the third consecutive year, Nebraska received the award from Site Selection Magazine for achieving the most economic development projects per capita of any state in the nation.

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