Where is Manufacturing Growing the Most in the United States?

Many signs point to U.S. manufacturing making a significant turnaround in offsetting years of offshoring to low-cost countries and showing signs of a resurgent optimism.


During the first half of 2018, economic measures were taken by the current U.S. administration – tax cuts, regulatory overhauls – seem to have instilled confidence in U.S. manufacturers, most recently reported in the National Association of Manufacturers membership survey. In it, NAM members cite tax cuts as the motivating factor for an over 95% optimism rate. Projected wage growth in these manufacturing companies is expected to rise at its fastest pace since 2001.


Also, this month the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported figures that coincide with the NAM survey. The BLS’ June 2018 Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLT) Report reports manufacturing job openings at its highest level of growth since 2001 as well. (For a summary of the JOLT report, click here.)


And the Institute for Supply Management’s iconic Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) has shown 20 months of continuous growth through April of 2018.


But where in the U.S. are these encouraging numbers playing out? And where – geographically – can custom parts manufacturers expect to find the most opportunity to grow business and market share?


Some of the locations may come as a surprise.


In an article published last month entitled ‘Where U.S. Manufacturing Is Thriving In 2018,’ Forbes presents data from an internal study that confirms where on the ground this optimism is having the most tangible impact for job growth.


The Forbes study began by surveying BLS data for manufacturing jobs activity in 373 U.S. metropolitan areas. Part of its formulae included assessing short-, medium-, and long-term job growth potential for manufacturing in these markets, going back to 2006.


The results show that while some legacy manufacturing hubs in the Midwest have seen a recent, remarkable resurgence in manufacturing job growth, many of the top improvements have been found in more temperate states – particularly on both U.S. coasts.


But that’s not to say that there is no manufacturing job growth in the heartland. While the top 15 metropolitan areas in the study are larger, the article cites many growth opportunities in smaller hubs around the country that represent strong evidence for focusing on marketing and sales efforts.


The top 15 U.S. metropolitan areas for manufacturing job growth since 2006 according to Forbes (numbers show job growth in 2017, and % as job growth since 2012):


1.Orlando-Kissimmee, Florida 46,500 / 23.6%

2.Oakland, California 97,400 / 22.2%

3.Grand Rapids, Michigan 115,700 / 20.5%

4.Miami-Miami Beach, Florida 43,800 / 22,6%

5.West Palm-Delray Beach-Boca Raton, Florida 20,000 / 27.3%

6.Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Michigan 160,700 / 18.5%

7.Albany, New York 26,600 / 14.2%

8.Louisville-Jefferson County, Kentucky-Indiana 82,000 / 14%

9.Las Vegas, Nevada 23,400 / 14.5%

10.San Diego-Carlsbad, California 168,600 / 11.1%

11.Atlanta, Georgia 168,600 / 12.8%

12.Omaha-Council Bluffs, Nebraska-Iowa 34,000 / 8.1%

13.Raleigh, North Carolina 35,000 / 14%

14.Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona 127,100 / 8.5%

15.Salt Lake City, Utah 58,400 / 7.2%


The article amasses a much more detailed list of relatively thriving cities by region. It indirectly – but effectively – provides manufacturers of all stripes (and particularly small custom parts manufacturers) with a ‘road map’ showing where to concentrate their attention to grow their own businesses.


Mfg.com suppliers should note these locations of manufacturing job growth as targets. This growth signifies other opportunities beyond a specific RFQ or particular part or job.


Is your region represented in the article’s data? Are you seeing results in your region or city? If so, we’d like to hear from you.