The comeback: Jobs return to manufacturing regions

May 24, 2011

Everybody loves a good comeback story. The comeback has inspired countless books, movies and even news stories. Maybe that's why everyone is rooting for manufacturing's resurgence. There are signs of hope everywhere: an encouraging study here, a favorable statistic there. To my surprise, manufacturing regions are even beginning to move up on the Forbes list of best cities for jobs.

Everybody loves a good comeback story. The comeback has inspired countless books, movies and even news stories. Maybe that's why everyone is rooting for manufacturing's resurgence. There are signs of hope everywhere: an encouraging study here, a favorable statistic there. To my surprise, manufacturing regions are even beginning to move up on the Forbes list of best cities for jobs. A new article by Joel Kotkin, "Manufacturing Stages a Comeback," illustrates how some of these areas are fighting their way back into the spotlight.

According to Kotkin, “the fastest-growing industrial areas include four long-suffering Rust Belt cities Anderson, Ind. (No. 4), Youngstown, Ohio (No. 5), Lansing, Mich. (No. 9) and Elkhart-Goshen, Ind. (No. 10). The growth in these and other industrial areas influenced, often dramatically, their overall job rankings. Elkhart, for example, rose 137 places, on our best cities for jobs list; and Lansing moved up 155. Other industrial areas showing huge gains include Niles-Benton Harbor, Mich., up 242 places, Holland-Grand Haven, Mich., (up 172),  Grand Rapids, Mich., (up 167)   Kokomo Ind., (up 177) ; and Sandusky, Ohio, (up 128).

Industrial growth also affected some of the largest metros, whose economies in other areas, such as business services, often depend on customers from the industrial sector. Economist Hank Robison, co-founder of the forecasting firm EMSI, points out that manufacturing jobs — along with those in the information sector — are unique in creating high levels of value and jobs across other sectors in the economy.  They constitute a foundation upon which other sectors, like retail and government, depend on.”

The article also includes a list of the top cities for manufacturing jobs in the United States:

  • Yakima, Wash.
  • Sebastian-Vero Beach, Fla.
  • Palm Coast, Fla.
  • Anderson, Ind.
  • Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa.
  • Midland, Texas
  • Modesto, Calif.
  • Yuma, Ariz.
  • Lansing-East Lansing, Mich.
  • Elkhart-Goshen, Ind.

There is also a list of the top big cities for manufacturing jobs in the United States:

  • Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Mich.
  • Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich.
  • San Antonio-Braunfels, Texas
  • Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wis.
  • Louisville-Jefferson County, Ky.-Ind.
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.
  • Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga.
  • Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • Pittsburgh, Pa.
  • Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, Texas

Read the complete article, "Manufacturing Stages a Comeback"

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