10 States Where Manufacturing Still Matters

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4. North Carolina
> Manufacturing share of output: 20.9%
> Manufacturing output 2013: $98.3 billion (5th highest)
> 2012 exports from manufacturing: $55.8 billion (7th highest)
> 2013 unemployment rate: 8.0% (11th highest)

North Carolina had the nation’s third-highest output of non-durable goods in 2013, at more than $63.5 billion. This was the equivalent of 13.5% of the state’s GDP that year. Roughly $19.4 billion of state GDP in 2012 came from food, beverage and tobacco products manufacturing. This was equal to more than 4% of total output in the state that year, the most in the nation. Helping to drive this figure may be the presence of a historically large tobacco industry in the state, which is also home to two of the nation’s largest cigarette makers, Reynolds American and Lorillard. The two companies have agreed to merge, with the deal projected to close next year, pending regulatory approval.

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3. Louisiana
> Manufacturing share of output: 23.4%
> Manufacturing output 2013: $59.3 billion (11th highest)
> 2012 exports from manufacturing: $47.2 billion (8th highest)
> 2013 unemployment rate: 6.2% (15th lowest)

Louisiana led the nation in the production of nondurable goods in 2013. In fact, the state owes much of its economic performance in recent years to the sector. Without nondurable goods, the state’s economy would have shrunk in 2013 by over 1.3%. Including non-durable goods, the state’s economy grew by 1.3%. More than 18% of total output in 2012 was attributable to energy and chemical products manufacturing alone. The state was also among the largest exporters of manufactured products in the U.S. in 2012. Between 2009 and 2012, manufacturing exports grew at an average annual rate of over 19%, more than all but one other state in the U.S. Despite manufacturing’s considerable size in the state, the sector accounted for just 7.9% of all employees in 2012, well below the national share of 10.5%.

2. Oregon
> Manufacturing share of output: 29.8%
> Manufacturing output 2013: $65.4 billion (10th highest)
> 2012 exports from manufacturing: $34.7 billion (12th highest)
> 2013 unemployment rate: 7.7% (14th highest)

Oregon’s economy grew by 2.7% in 2013, better than most states. Durable goods manufacturing contributed 1.1 percentage points to this growth, the largest such contribution in the nation. This is hardly a surprise — while durable goods manufacturing made up nearly 28% of the state’s economy in 2013, by far the highest percentage in the nation. The state’s high-tech industry accounts for most of Oregon’s strong manufacturing sector. Computer and electronic products manufacturing generated more than 23% of all output, by far the largest share of any state’s technology sector. Intel, which manufacturers semiconductors in the state, claims it is Oregon’s largest private sector employer.

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1. Indiana
> Manufacturing share of output: 30.1%
> Manufacturing output 2013: $95.3 billion (6th highest)
> 2012 exports from manufacturing: $61.9 billion (6th highest)
> 2013 unemployment rate: 7.5% (17th highest)

No state generated more of its output from manufacturing last year than Indiana, where manufacturing accounted for 30% of state GDP. Additionally, the state was the nation’s second-largest manufacturer of both durable and nondurable goods as a percent of total output. The state’s auto industry helped to drive durable goods manufacturing, accounting for 5% of Indiana’s output, or nearly $15.5 billion, in 2012. Toyota, Honda, and Subaru all maintain facilities in the state, and auto parts giant Cummins is based in Indiana. More than half of the state’s nondurable goods output in 2012 came from chemical products manufacturing. At 8.9% of output, this was the most of any state. In addition to high output, the manufacturing sector accounted for 19% of all employees in 2012. Indiana was also one of the largest exporters of manufactured products in the nation in 2012, with $61.9 billion in such exports.