An interactive map posted online this week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms what you probably already knew about Wisconsin’s economy: Manufacturing and the jobs it produces are vital to the state.
The map reveals that while many state economies have shifted away from manufacturing, Wisconsin and most of its Midwest neighbors have remained somewhat reliant on that sector. The state is home to about 9,400 manufacturers who collectively employ about 450,000 people, or nearly 17 percent of the state’s workforce. It was fifth among the 50 states in manufacturing job growth from 2009 through 2012.
That’s simultaneously encouraging and challenging: Encouraging because Wisconsin has retained much of its core expertise in an era of global competition – and challenging because several bedrock industries — such as paper, plastic and printing — remain under pressure.