Published January 1, 2007 | January 2007 issue
Though it has a comparatively small base, North Dakota's manufacturing sector has seen fairly strong growth, bucking some sectoral trends seen in many other states, particularly over the past decade.
From 2001 through September of last year, North Dakota added about 2,500 manufacturing jobs. That might not sound like much, but it equals a growth rate of about 10 percent, with total employment topping 26,000 in the state. Maybe more notable is the fact that it grew at all over this period, because manufacturing employment in most states was going in the opposite direction.
Other states, including Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, all of which have larger manufacturing sectors on a per capita basis, have seen an uptick in manufacturing employment in recent years. But all are still below previous employment levels, while North Dakota is hitting new highs. For example, since 1996, Minnesota and Wisconsin both have lost about 10 percent of their manufacturing jobs, while jobs in North Dakota have grown by more than 25 percent over the same period.
—Ronald A. Wirtz