State of Manufacturing®

The State of Manufacturing® is an annual survey of Minnesota’s manufacturing industry, highlighting the trends, conditions, and outlook of executives from around the state.

2023 Survey Results

The takeaway: Manufacturers are anxious about recent legislative actions and have little confidence in economic growth in the coming year.

Fears of recession are easing for Minnesota manufacturers, and many have returned to grappling with the normal aches and pains of operating a business. But that doesn’t mean they are bullish on the state’s economy. Manufacturers of all sizes anticipate a near future of economic stagnation, coloring their decisions about hiring and investing in their companies.

Pair that with deep worry about the changes enacted by the Minnesota Legislature in 2023 — notably requirements to provide paid family and medical leave and paid earned sick and safe leave. All told, these conditions have fostered a prevailing mood of uncertainty and trepidation among manufacturers. Enterprise Minnesota’s 15th annual survey, the State of Manufacturing® (SOM), found that just 16% of respondents believe that 2023 will be one of economic expansion. This is the lowest level since the rock bottom 8% recorded during the 2008 Great Recession.

Watch the complete presentation here. 

Regional SOM Events

Following each survey, Enterprise Minnesota travels the state and hosts regional events in each of the six Initiative Foundation regions that bring together manufacturers, economic developers, legislators, and industry stakeholders. These events provide an opportunity to discuss and celebrate manufacturing at the local level. Subscribe to Enterprise Minnesota to stay informed of local events  happening in your region.

Pollster’s 2023 Analysis

Manufacturers predict that the biggest challenges that could put a damper on growth are attracting and retaining a qualified workforce (39%), inflation (32%), and increases in costs of materials needed to make products (31%).

Survey Deck

Highlight slides of the 2023 State of Manufacturing® survey deck are below. View the complete slide deck (PDF).

Heard in our Focus Groups

A selection of 2023 focus group responses from around the state provides context to the quantitative results of the survey. View complete focus group responses here (PDF).

Let’s talk about some of the legislative laws passed this past July.  What are your thoughts on the new sick and safe laws, cannabis, and others? 

I work in HR, so the safe and sick time, there is a concern that is going to be demanded in addition to what we’ve already negotiated in our contract earlier this year. And then with cannabis, how do we monitor it? We’ve changed our pre-hire drug policy, and we’re doing a reasonable suspicion training for our supervisors in November. But it’s not clear what we can call out, what we cannot call out. We are very concerned.

Let’s talk about some of the legislative laws passed this past July.  What are your thoughts on the new sick and safe laws, cannabis, and others? 

I’m worried to varying degrees for each new law. There are already people gone or just calling in sick because they don’t want to come into work. As far as the sick and safe time, we already have enough PTO given for that, but I don’t know if some employees will think that they deserve more as a separate thing. Cannabis we’re somewhat concerned about but not too worried.

Let’s talk about the economy. How optimistic are you about the next 12 months? Are you pessimistic? Is it too early to predict?

There are so many conflicting indicators out there that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. So, you really don’t know what the most critical factor is. We’re a small enough company and hopefully in enough different industries that it’s going to come down to our effort and our focus versus the macro factors. That’s how we’re approaching it right now.

Does your outlook influence or inhibit your ability to plan? How does uncertainty affect your plan?

We’re probably going to spend less on capital, but we’re going to take the money and invest it in people — putting more training programs in place, putting more leadership development programs in place.

Requests for interview

Bob Kill, president & CEO of Enterprise Minnesota is available for comment and interview regarding the State of Manufacturing® survey. If you would like to schedule an interview, please contact Robert Lodge ([email protected]).

The State of Manufacturing survey is made possible through the support of our generous partners. If you are interested in being a part of the State of Manufacturing survey, please contact us.

The State of Manufacturing survey is conducted by Meeting Street Insights and is underwritten by Enterprise Minnesota.

Thank you to our Platinum Sponsors

Research & Data

Since 2008, the State of Manufacturing® survey has been providing industry-leading insight and analysis to business leaders, public policy makers, educators, and the media.

Find complete survey data, including focus transcripts, cross tabulated data, and legacy resources on our Research page. 

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