Special Report

10 States Where Manufacturing Still Matters

10. South Carolina
> Manufacturing share of output: 17.3%
> Manufacturing output 2013: $31.8 billion (24th highest)
> 2012 exports from manufacturing: $23.3 billion (20th highest)
> 2013 unemployment rate: 7.6% (16th highest)

Manufacturing accounted for 17.3% of South Carolina’s state GDP last year. The state was a top manufacturer of both durable and nondurable goods, with each contributing 9.8% and 7.5% to the state’s output, respectively. Much of the state’s durable goods output came from motor vehicle and parts manufacturing, which accounted for nearly $4 billion, or about 2.2%, of state GDP in 2012.This was more than all but a handful of states. Major auto industry companies located in the state include Michelin and BMW. Additionally, South Carolina was also among the nation’s largest plastics and rubber manufacturers, with this industry accounting for nearly $3 billion, or 1.7%, of state GDP in 2012, more than in any other state.

9. Ohio
> Manufacturing share of output: 17.7%
> Manufacturing output 2013: $99.8 billion (4th highest)
> 2012 exports from manufacturing: $62.5 billion (4th highest)
> 2013 unemployment rate: 7.4% (19th highest)

Nearly 18% of Ohio’s total output in 2013 came from manufacturing. No other industry accounted for a greater share of the state’s GDP last year. Nondurable goods manufacturing constituted 8.2% of the state’s GDP and accounted for 0.5 percentage points of Ohio’s 1.8% GDP growth last year. Ohio was also among the nation’s leading auto manufacturers. The sector helped drive durable good production to 9.4% of total output in 2013. Ohio had one of the strongest export recoveries of any state in the country between 2009 and 2012, with exports growing at an annualized rate of nearly 12%. As of 2012, Ohio was the nation’s fourth largest exported of manufacturing exports, totaling over $62 billion.

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8. Alabama
> Manufacturing share of output: 17.8%
> Manufacturing output 2013: $34.4 billion (22nd highest)
> 2012 exports from manufacturing: $22.9 billion (21st highest)
> 2013 unemployment rate: 6.5% (18th lowest)

Alabama’s manufacturing sector generated nearly 18% of the state’s total output last year, the eighth highest nationwide. A relatively large proportion came from durable goods production. Primary metal manufacturing accounted for more than 2% of total output in 2012, more than in all but two other states. Nicknamed “Pittsburgh of the South,” Alabama’s largest city, Birmingham, is known for its steel industry. The region has large coal, iron, and limestone deposits, which are key components in the steel industry. Like most states where manufacturing still matters, high output means more manufacturing jobs. More than 13% of Alabama’s workforce was employed in manufacturing in 2012, versus 10.5% of employment nationwide.