Yakima County Development Association - Why Manufacturing Stays Strong in Yakima County

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Jean publishes a blog called the Enterprise Corner.  It features articles on entrepreneurship, local industry trends, manufacturing news and periodic ‘toolbox’ articles showcasing assistance, incentives and other resources for local businesses.

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Why Manufacturing Stays Strong in Yakima County

Why Manufacturing Stays Strong in Yakima County

January 28, 2011

Manufacturers are by nature entrepreneurial. Think about Henry Ford or Bill Gates. At the time, they had a revolutionary idea that probably seemed far fetched and unattainable. The entrepreneurial spirit remains alive and present in our region; Yakima County is home to many creative and innovative companies and innovation is a big part of what keeps manufacturing strong here.  Companies in our county are making custom farm equipment, music stands, fishing lures, juice, neon signs, even the machinery that produces many of the items we use every day (Starbucks cups, McDonald's to-go containers, plastic bread ties, etc.) and on and on. Manufacturing in Yakima County has seen its share of ups and downs over the last couple of years, but the industry remains vital to our economy.  While overall, jobs have decreased in manufacturing and food processing, things are looking better for 2010 than in 2009. Some of our local manufacturers have had to lay off employees, but are cautiously optimistic and remain committed to keeping their business in Yakima County. A few bright spots on the local front are:

  • The expansion of Alexandria Moulding to add additional warehouse space in Moxee;
  • Relocation of Stephens Metal to a newer facility in Yakima;
  • Amtech Corp acquired a company and added forty more jobs to the local payroll;
  • The recent opening of Liberty Bottleworks.  Liberty is producing the first American-made water bottle made out of recyclable aluminum; and
  • Yakima Craft Brewing recently expanded to add a tap room to allow more production space.

Why is manufacturing so important to our region, and the United States? Manufacturers tend to pay higher wages and have better benefits than other industries.  The capital investment in plants and equipment helps support the tax base.  Manufacturing and innovation go hand in hand. According to the American Manufacturing Association,mfg stat

  • The U.S is the world’s largest manufacturing economy;
  • US produces 22 percent of world manufactured products; China is second at 13 percent; Japan is third at 11 percent;
  • The economic impact for manufacturers is $1 = $1.40.  Meaning for every $1 in sales, it supports $1.40 in other sectors, conversely, retail is $1 = $0.58; and
  • Almost 90% of all patents filed come from the manufacturing sector.

Manufacturing is vital to the Yakima County economy.  We have experienced some struggles but the innovative nature of our companies helps diversify and stabilize the employment base.  Some of our manufacturers are a well kept secret to the general public but products are known and supplied around the world.  We are confident that with our accessible northwest location, lower costs of doing business and the creative and entrepreneurial spirit we have, Yakima County will remain home to many inventive manufacturers.


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"New Vision has been a great partner for our business as we continue to grow in Yakima County. They helped us finish another expan-sion project recently and have instrumentally helped us grow from 20 to 200 employees in Yakima County." - Doug Christie, Amtech Corporation