The Economic Impact of Northland Industry

The Duluth Seaway Port Authority’s ICIC study highlights strong incentives to support the growth of area industry.

Based in the Twin Ports, the Duluth Seaway Port Authority is an independent, public agency created by the Minnesota State Legislature to foster regional maritime commerce, promote trade development, facilitate industrial development, and serve as an advocate for port interests in the Twin Ports and around the world.

In 2018, the DSPA conducted its Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) Study. As the DSPA reported in a media release, the findings provided “compelling data [which] indicates that not only is this city’s industrial sector an important component of Duluth’s current economy, but it will also be the catalyst that spurs equitable growth across all other sectors to give Duluth a truly competitive advantage in attracting new companies and residents.”

Key findings of the report include:

  • The $3.8 billion industrial sector in Duluth and the surrounding region includes 9,449 industrial jobs in 2016, which support an additional 8,419 jobs in the county.
  • Jobs in industry are accessible to multiple education levels and offer high wages, competitive benefits, and opportunities for career advancement, paying on average $61,000 a year compared to $47,000 in the city overall.
  • Growth in industry supports the growth of other economic sectors in Duluth, including:
    • Professional, scientific, and technical services
    • Wholesale trade and retail trade
    • Healthcare and social assistance
    • Lodging, food services, and more

“People come to Duluth because they love the area — the recreational opportunities, the environment, the lake, and more — but they cannot stay without employment. Without good-paying jobs, Duluth’s population cannot grow,” the ICIC report points out.

What’s more, ICIC further finds that expansion of the area’s industrial sector doesn’t have to come at the expense of the environment that draws people here in the first place:

“[T]here is incredible focus on innovation and technology to appeal to the future workforce,” the ICIC report concludes. “These [industrial] employers understand the importance of and adhere to today’s stringent environmental and worker protection regulations.”

In line with what is being called the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” twenty-first century industry in Duluth doesn’t look like a scene out of a Charles Dickens novel. On the contrary, this sector is drawing the tech-savvy and environmentally-conscious alike with opportunities to keep on the cutting edge and make a positive difference in the community.

“The report defined an aggregate industrial sector that includes both traditional and contemporary industrial businesses (e.g. construction, manufacturing, transportation, publishing, telecommunications, data processing, aviation and breweries),” the DSPA’s media release underscored, adding: “These are non-polluting facilities that operate in compliance with local, state and federal environmental and worker protection regulations and provide excellent jobs to 9,449 people in Duluth.”

“Industrial jobs have evolved with advances in technology and commitments to process improvement,” echoed Dave Faynik, General Manager of Altec Industries, one of the area’s leading manufacturers. “Industry in this century looks and behaves in a much more socially responsible manner. Companies understand, respect and lead innovation to create safe workplaces and minimize their environmental footprints.”

From shipping, aviation, and other forms of transport, to manufacturing, mining, and more fields, you can find career opportunities in the industrial sector of Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin HERE! See below for excerpts from the DSPA’s ICIC Study, and visit Duluth Seaway Port Authority’s website for more info and resources on Duluth industry:



Our Development Partners

Register to receive jobs in your inbox.

Get connected with employers.

Your resume is sent to employers.

Easily apply to new jobs.

Find Your Career

Forgot Password? | Register Now