The manufacturing recovery can be difficult to quantify. Conflicting reports and contradictory sound bites can make even the most seasoned manufacturer confused. Wouldn't it be easier if there was a way to grade the manufacturing sector on a state-by-state basis?
Prepared by Conexus Indiana, a private sector-led initiative focused on the advanced manufacturing and logistics sectors, and Ball State's Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER), the 2011 Manufacturing and Logistics National Report grades the United State’s 50 states in several areas of the economy that underlie the success of manufacturing and logistics.
These specific measures include: manufacturing and logistics health, human capital, the cost of benefits, the global reach and diversification of the industries, state-level productivity and innovation, the tax climate and venture capital activities.
CBER Director Michael Hicks says U.S. manufacturing is clearly rebounding from the recession, but the effects of the rebound are highly varied. Manufacturing production will almost certainly have a record year in 2011 and again 2012, but employment nationwide will be highly varied across states.
"Some states, such as Indiana, have seen a real turnaround in manufacturing employment since the end of the recession (up 4.6%), while the nation as a whole has seen one in 50 manufacturing jobs lost," Hicks says. "
"Prior to the recession, business location and expansion decisions were almost wholly driven by the availability of skilled workers," he says. "Today, that is far less a short term consideration, and tax rates, and concern about future tax increases due to high pension costs and other factors dominate business decisions to relocate. So, states emerge from this recession with a solid fiscal climate will tend to outperform those with uncertain balance sheets."