Hundreds of people gathered last Thursday to hear pollster Rob Autry discuss the results of this year’s State of Manufacturing®, our annual survey of manufacturing executives in Minnesota. We shook up the format a bit as we presented this year’s data, and the event felt like part manufacturing sector update, part pep rally, and part family reunion.
We integrated short video clips throughout Rob’s presentation, which enabled manufacturers and Enterprise Minnesota advisors to discuss their perspectives of Rob’s findings.
We were also gratified by the growing number of companies that sponsored this year’s survey, focus groups and kickoff event. These sponsors really understand the critical role of manufacturing as the engine of economic growth across the state, and they are committed to keeping the sector strong.
As Bob Kill noted in his opening remarks, the survey revealed three main themes. First, the survey and our focus groups confirmed something we already suspected. The manufacturing economy is finally starting to enjoy some overall stability, after the long economic disruptions of the COVID pandemic. Our supply chains are settling down, the labor market, while still volatile, is finding some equilibrium, and the economy has been starting to show some predictability.
Second, many manufacturers are aware that the recent session of the legislature threatens to throw a wrench into all that. Executives are concerned about expanded paid leave requirements; a new employer-funded paid leave program; and cannabis legalization that includes new workplace drug testing policies.
The final takeaway is that small manufacturers in particular fear they lack the resources to cope with these new laws. And we know that this could have wide-ranging consequences. Small- and medium-sized manufacturers contribute greatly to the economies of their local communities. When they hurt, we all hurt.
Enterprise Minnesota will continue to help manufacturers reach out to legislators through factory tours – we’ve facilitated more than 500 over the years – to continue building important relationships. These tours serve two purposes: they give legislators a better, and positive understanding of manufacturing, and they help establish connections that will be helpful as they consider future proposals.
As always, I enjoyed watching attendees connect during the post-presentation reception to discuss the data and issues and establishing or strengthening ties with one another. Bringing the manufacturing community together at this event is a highlight of the year for us. And now, we’re off to events around the state. We’re thrilled to keep the momentum going, and we hope to see many of you in the coming weeks.
Find a complete list of upcoming SOM regional events here.
View the complete 2023 SOM results here.
Find upcoming manufacturing events and workshops on our Events page.
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