Yakima County Development Association - Manufacturing Matters: Sector Vital to Local, State & National Economy

Jonathan Smith

The President’s Pen is a weekly blog written by Jonathan Smith, New Vision’s President and CEO about local economic development projects and initiatives. It also covers economic trends, workforce issues, business climate policies, and manufacturing news. 

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Manufacturing Matters:  Sector Vital to Local, State & National Economy

Manufacturing Matters: Sector Vital to Local, State & National Economy

August 08, 2012

One of our top priorities at New Vision is to help local manufacturing firms.  We provide wide ranging assistance to industry in our Valley.  Whether it is helping a plastics company tap tax credits or addressing a food processor's workforce needs, we put a lot of effort into sustaining and growing local manufacturers.   People have sometimes asked us why we put so much emphasis on manufacturing as opposed to other sectors like retail or services.  Our answer is pretty simple.  With limited resources New Vision needs to focus on industries that provide the biggest economic impacts to the Yakima Valley.  Manufacturers give us a big bang for the buck, so to speak, as their activities and benefits ripple throughout our region.  For example:

    • The average annual wage for local manufacturing employees is $39,287 (versus the average county wage of $32,300);
    • local manufacturers employ approximately 8,000 workers or about seven percent of our total labor force.  This sector accounts for nine percent of wages in the county because of the industry's higher than average wages; and
    • the total annual payroll for local production companies is over $300 million.

Manufacturing companies have many links to other sectors as a result of their demand for raw materials, energy, transportation, construction, and services.  These links multiply the impacts manufacturers have within the economy.  According to the Manufacturing Institute's 2009 report, every dollar in final sales of manufactured products supports $1.40 in output from other sectors of the economy. (manufacturing has the largest multiplier of all sectors).  Because of these linkages about one in six U.S. private sector jobs depends on the U.S. manufacturing base. The Manufacturing Institute's Facts about Manufacturing report provides other interesting data as well:

    • Despite widespread reports suggesting the demise of US manufacturing, The U.S. share of global value added in manufacturing has remained relatively steady at around 22 percent since 1980;
    • if U.S. manufacturing were a country by itself, it would rank as the eighth largest economy in the world; and
    • The four largest manufacturing industries food, chemicals, computers and electronic products and fabricated metal products account for about 44 percent of our domestic manufacturing output

It is obvious that manufacturing is the most important sector to our United States economy.  It is also vital to Washington state and Yakima County.  Manufacturing has played a key role in the state's unfolding economic rebound (think Boeing and aerospace) and it provides a steadying force to our regional economy. We cannot take manufacturers for granted.  Production companies in our valley face competitive challenges, workforce issues, and ongoing regulatory concerns.  It is important for our office and other community stakeholders to be in local industry's corner helping them resolve issues and sustain operations.  While New Vision does not let any company in need slip through our safety net, we focus almost all of our energy on keeping our manufacturing sector happy, healthy and local.  You can help too.  Take notice of local manufacturers like Amtech, Shields Bag and Printing, Magic Metals, Rankin Equipment and others.  Thank them for their contributions to our Valley for they are truly local economic champions.   If you are interested in seeing the Facts on Manufacturing report click here


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