Wisconsin added manufacturing jobs for a sixth straight year, according to data collected by Manufacturers' News Inc. (MNI). MNI reports the state added 2,495 new jobs between July 2016 and July 2017, a half percent gain.
Currently, Wisconsin’s 10,373 manufacturers employ 574,224 people. Overall, the state has added 22,978 manufacturing jobs over the past six years, amounting to a 4.2 percent increase in its industrial workforce.
"Wisconsin’s skilled workforce combined with a strong focus on innovation have drawn some major enterprises to the state, and the good news keeps coming, with major announcements made over the year by Foxconn and Haribo," says Tom Dubin, MNI president. "However, global competition and a strong dollar continue to challenge growth."
Employment gains were spread across multiple sectors, with the electronics industry leading the way. The state’s electronics sector should also continue to add jobs in the coming years, as iPhone maker Foxconn makes progress on the massive $10 billion factory it plans to establish outside of Kenosha. The new plant will potentially create 13,000 jobs for the area.
In addition, German candy maker Haribo announced plans to open a gummy bear factory in Kenosha, which is purported to be one of the largest foreign investments in the state. Signature Wafers took over the old "Rippin' Good Cookies" space, resuming cookie production in the town of Ripon after a year’s lapse. Pratt Industries also opened a new cardboard box factory in Beloit.
Other industries adding jobs included fabricated metals, transportation equipment and medical instruments/related products. Stone/clay/glass, paper products, rubber/plastics and lumber/wood all added 1 percent to their workforce. However, these gains were offset by losses in the primary metals sector after Metaldyne closed its Brillion Iron Works facility. Printing/publishing also declined, as did furniture/fixtures.
Wisconsin’s top sectors by manufacturing employment remain industrial machinery and food processing, accounting for 30 percent of the state’s industrial workforce. These two industries saw little change in employment over the year.
Milwaukee ranks first in the state for the number of manufacturing jobs, with 46,262 workers. Employment inched down a half percent over the year, due partially to the relocation of Pieper Electronics’ operations to New Berlin.
Green Bay’s industrial workforce held steady at 22,519 jobs, but plummeted 10 percent in Madison after the closure of the Oscar Mayer hot dog plant.
For more information, visit www.mni.net.