Minnesota Manufacturing Economic Information

January 2020

As a way for our firm to thoroughly understand the challenges and issues that manufacturers face daily, it is imperative that we understand the current economic manufacturing climate in Minnesota and around the world.

There are resources that we consistently and thoroughly review, which are listed below:

  • The Beige Book published by the Federal Reserve – updated as of January 2020.
    • “District manufacturing activity was flat on balance from the last report.”
    • “Preliminary results from a survey of Ninth District manufacturers indicated that firms generally reported a slight decrease in orders, production, and investment over the past year. However, expectations for the coming year were generally positive.”
  • Minnesota’s Economic Trends published by the Minnesota Department Employment and Economic Development (DEED) – updated as of December 2019.
    • Most In-Demand Skills in Manufacturing – “By far the biggest gap identified in job applicants is general mechanical aptitude, sometimes as basic as the ability to use hand tools such as a drill or a screwdriver. Some employers would be willing to hire people straight out of high school if they had mechanical aptitude.”
      • “According to survey results, expanding manufacturing-related vocational and associate degree programs, especially in Greater Minnesota would help mitigate workforce shortages in occupations.”
      • Click here for the PDF of the article as they suggest ways to mitigate this issue.
    • Hiring Difficulty in Manufacturing – “According to results from the 2019 Minnesota Hiring Difficulties Survey, 62 percent of job vacancies in skilled production occupations posted by manufacturing firms in 2018 were difficult to fill. The study identifies which skills are in need, other barriers besides lack of skills contributing to hiring difficulties, and which actions were taken by employers were most effective at addressing the problems.” Click here for a PDF of the article.
  • The State of Manufacturing Survey® published by Enterprise Minnesota – May 2019
    • “Minnesota manufacturers continue to thrive in a strong economy, but a severe worker shortage overshadows their growth and profitability. According to the 11th annual State of Manufacturing®, a comprehensive survey project sponsored by Enterprise Minnesota and its partners, manufacturers have retained their near-record levels of optimism since 2018 while also taking steps to alleviate the negative impacts of the ongoing worker shortage. More than half (54 percent) are focused on maximizing productivity, with efforts such as automation and continuous improvement, to combat the worker shortage.”