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Manufacturing Fast Facts

The manufacturing sector is the backbone of Minnesota's economy, thanks to its strength, versatility and innovation. It represents one in seven jobs and has the largest total payroll of any business sector.
Manufacturing contributed $49.2 billion to the state economy in 2017 and represents 16 percent of the Minnesota’s gross domestic product.
Minnesota has 8,343 manufacturers making a wide range of products. Manufacturing is growing in Minnesota - with employment in this sector rising almost 9 percent since 2010.
Each manufacturing job supports another 3.2 jobs elsewhere in the economy through supplier purchases and employee spending. In all, manufacturing accounted for nearly 1,020,500 jobs or 36 percent of all jobs in Minnesota in 2016.
Some 42 percent of Minnesota’s Fortune 500 companies in 2017 operate in manufacturing: 3M, Medtronic, General Mills, Land O’Lakes, Mosaic, Hormel Foods, Ecolab and St. Jude Medical.
Canada is Minnesota’s top manufactured export market at $5.0 billion in sales in 2015, followed by China and Mexico.
Minnesota is a national leader in manufactured medical devices, which contribute significantly to the state’s gross domestic product. The export category that includes medical devices accounted for $3.7 billion in manufactured exports in 2015.
Medical device companies had some of the largest registrations of patents between 2007 and 2011 in Minnesota: Boston Scientific (1,353 from Guidant and Sci-Med Life Systems units), Medtronic (994 patents), and St. Jude Medical (71 patents).
Minnesota has more than 317,200 manufacturing jobs statewide or 16 percent of all private-sector jobs (2016).
Manufacturing pays an average annual wage of $63,794 per employee, compared to $54,650 for all other industries (2016).
Most manufacturing jobs in Minnesota are concentrated in these products:
  • Computer and electronic products
  • Food manufacturing
  • Fabricated metal products
  • Machinery
Manufacturing has the second-largest payroll of any business sector in the state, providing $20.3 billion in 2016 wages.
Manufacturing, agricultural, and mining exports brought $20 billion into the Minnesota economy in 2016.
Minnesota’s top manufactured export is optics/medical products at $3.7 billion, followed by machinery, vehicles, plastics, food byproducts, aircraft and spacecraft, iron and steel products and pharmaceuticals.
Medical device businesses research, develop and produce everything from catheters and pacemakers to dental instruments, eyeglass lenses and hearing aids.
Minnesota is a great place for small manufacturers, with venture capital, incentives, and other financing available. The state ranked in the top 20 nationwide with nearly $1 billion in venture capital investments from 2013-2015.

Manufacturing Facts By Region

Central Minnesota

With 41,473 jobs at 1,147 business establishments, manufacturing represented 15 percent of all regional jobs Central Minnesota in 2015.

Regional manufacturers paid out just under $2.09 billion in total payroll to employees in 2015, providing average annual wages of $50,356. That was $10,429higher than the average for all industries ($39,927).

Metro Twin Cities Area

Manufacturing was the second largest-employing industry sector in the Metro Twin Cities area in 2015, supplying over 168,404 jobs at 3,999 establishments. Manufacturing’s share of the area’s total employment is 10 percent.

The average annual wage for manufacturing workers was $74,008 in 2015, which is $13,731 higher than the average wage for all industries ($60,277).

Computer and electronic product manufacturing, fabricated metal product manufacturing, miscellaneous manufacturing, machinery manufacturing, printing and related support activities, and food manufacturing make up the largest subsectors.

Northeast Minnesota

The manufacturing sector is a key employer in Northeast Minnesota. With 8,588 jobs at 337 establishments, it represents 6 percent of all employment in the area in 2015.

The average annual manufacturing wage was $56,792 in 2015, $15,047 percent higher than the average wage for all industries ($41,745) Wages are highest in the paper, machinery, fabricated metal product, wood product, transportation equipment, and nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing subsectors. 

Northwest Minnesota

At 28,631 jobs and 792 establishments, manufacturing represented 13 percent of all regional jobs during 2015.

Most manufacturing industries paid higher than other sectors. The average annual wage in manufacturing was $46,721 in 2015, compared to $37,014 in all industries. Wages were highest in machinery manufacturing ($56,465), followed by transportation equipment manufacturing ($48,138), wood product manufacturing ($45,816), fabricated metal product manufacturing ($45,063), food manufacturing ($44,994) and printing and related support activities ($41,376).

Southeast Minnesota

In 2015, manufacturing was the second-largest employment sector in Southeast Minnesota, with 37,847 jobs, which represented 16 percent of all regional jobs and 12 percent of the state’s manufacturing jobs.

Most manufacturing industries paid higher than average wages. At $55,952 for an average annual wage, manufacturing jobs paid $8,964 higher than the average annual wage for all industries ($46,988) in 2015.

Wages were highest in computer and electronic product manufacturing ($90,107), followed by nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing ($53,993), machinery manufacturing ($53,876), food manufacturing ($49,810), and fabricated metal product manufacturing ($49,667).

Southwest Minnesota

In Southwest Minnesota, 18 percent of the area’s total employment is in the manufacturing sector. The 31,618 jobs at 604 establishments paid an average annual wage of $47,369 in 2015.

Regional manufacturers paid out just over $1.50 billion in total payroll to employees in 2015. Wages were the highest in the electrical equipment, appliance, and component manufacturing sector ($54,393), computer and electronic product manufacturing ($50,595), and food manufacturing ($48,200).

Sources: Labor and Information Office, DEED, Bureau of Labor Statistics, QCEW 2015 Annual Averages, Quarterly Census Employment and Wages.

For updated information from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, please click here.