Manufacturing Month 2020

October is the best month to explore this powerhouse of an industry.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a welder, a mechanic, a machinist, or another specialized role in the manufacturing sector, October is prime time to learn about opportunities during Manufacturing Month in the Northland.

Manufacturing contributes $52.7 billion a year to Minnesota’s economy according to 2019 data from DEED. The story is similar in Wisconsin, where manufacturing generates a whopping $63.31 billion in total output for the state, according to the National Association of Manufactures (NAM).

Numbers don’t lie: manufacturing offers some of the best-paying jobs around. According to DEED, the average annual wage for a Minnesota manufacturing job was $58,708 in 2018. That’s more than $15,500 higher than average wages across all other industries in the area. In Wisconsin, annual compensation was $71,226 on average in 2018 (NAM).

These are great local gigs with plenty of career advancement opportunities — and wages start at anywhere from $14 to $23 per hour. 

Pandemic Economy: Rolling with the Punches

After taking a hit along with most other industries this spring as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, manufacturing has regained ground following hiring losses, the Star Tribune reported in August.

“We’ve still got many more months before we get back to pre-COVID-19 levels,” said Ernie Goss, director of the forecasting group that oversees the Creighton University Mid-America Business Conditions Index, which measured the industry over the past half year. “We took such a downturn in March and April that we’re still digging out of that.”

U.S. gross domestic product fell 9.5% in the April-to-June quarter, according to the Commerce Department. While demand for produced goods is strong at the moment, the future is still murky.

Wade Karnes, president of the Arrowhead Manufacturers and Fabricators Association (AMFA), shares the guardedly optimistic outlook that most economists are taking.

“Manufacturers that provide vital goods, medical equipment, or pharmaceuticals are struggling to meet the demand. Other manufacturers deemed nonessential were shut down, while still others are experiencing dramatic drops in demand,” Karnes wrote in a June letter for AMFA. “Nearly every manufacturer that is still operating is experiencing supply chain disruptions and grappling with social distancing and additional safety measures for workers given that the bulk of our workforce is employed on-site and are worker dense.”

October 2020 Events & Presentations

Despite ongoing uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, the planning is going forward with manufacturing-focused events through September and October.

  • The Engineering and Manufacturing Workforce Partnership Seminar is a twice-a-year collaboration between the Minnesota State Engineering Center of Excellence and the Minnesota State Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence. This free networking opportunity for workforce stakeholders will take place September 15 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Clyde Iron Works in Duluth, MN and feature a forum to network and explore innovative workforce solutions. Good opportunity to connect with employers and learn the employment landscape.
  • The Minnesota Chamber’s Manufacturers’ Summit will take a hybrid approach with both in-person and virtual attendance options. This year’s event will celebrate successes and underscore challenges in Minnesota’s manufacturing sector on October 6 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce in St. Paul.
  • AMFA will host their yearly Beverage Tasting and Social Fundraiser on October 7 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Clyde Iron Works in Duluth, MN.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Minnesota manufacturers have upheld their reputation for innovation and dedication,” states the event writeup for the Minnesota Chamber’s Manufacturers’ Summit; “They have examined their processes and determined how to protect employees, sustain supply chains and endure. The 2020 Manufacturers’ Summit will focus on the impacts of COVID-19 in terms of economic outlook, production and supply chain, how manufacturers led the rapid response and will lead future industry innovations.”

Learn more about the Northland Manufacturing Industry here.

Find current manufacturing job openings across the Northland: Browse Now.

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