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IMA Launches Statewide “Manufacturing Matters” Tour to Highlight Economic Impact of Manufacturing in Illinois

By August 3, 2022August 23rd, 2022No Comments

August 3, 2022

IMA Launches Statewide “Manufacturing Matters” Tour to Highlight Economic Impact of Manufacturing in Illinois

New Study Finds Manufacturing is Largest Single Contributor to State GDP, Generates $611 Billion Annually and Supports 1.7 Million Jobs

DECATUR – The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) today launched “Manufacturing Matters,” a statewide tour that will visit factories, educational institutions and economic development centers across Illinois to detail the results of a new economic impact study about the vital contributions the manufacturing industry provides to communities large and small.

Conducted by independent economists at the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina, the study found the total economic impact of manufacturing in Illinois is estimated to be between $580 billion and $611 billion every year – the largest share of any industry to the state’s Gross Domestic Product. Manufacturing directly employs 662,298 workers but ultimately supports as many as 1,771,928 jobs, generating up to $150 billion in labor income for Illinois residents annually. In all, it’s estimated that the manufacturing industry supports nearly 30 percent of all jobs in Illinois, making it among the state’s largest industry sectors. The study found a majority of the manufacturing base in Illinois is derived from five major subsectors: food and agriculture manufacturing; metal fabrication manufacturing; heavy equipment manufacturing; pharmaceutical manufacturing and transportation equipment manufacturing.

“This new economic study confirms what we have long known: manufacturing is a key pillar of the state’s economy, and their success is vital to our state’s success. Illinois manufacturers feed the world, make life saving products, power our homes and businesses, build our infrastructure, transport people and products around the globe and provide for our nation’s defense,” said Mark Denzler, President and CEO of the Illinois Manufactures’ Association. “Manufacturers are the innovators and entrepreneurs, the builders and producers, and the dreamers and leaders who are solving our challenges and creating our future. It’s imperative our elected officials enact polices to allow for the industry’s continued success, foster capital investment and grow new jobs.”

“Despite numerous challenges presented in recent years, the Illinois manufacturing sector remains strong and resilient. Across the state, manufacturers serve as the heartbeat of their communities, creating high-paying jobs, spurring economic growth and developing new technologies to lead our state and nation forward,” said Greg Webb, Chair of the IMA Board of Directors and Vice President of State Government Relations for ADM. “But we cannot take this success for granted and must work with leaders at every level to ensure the manufacturing industry thrives for generations to come.”

The study’s findings were detailed during an event at Richland Community College in Decatur, where a new generation of manufacturing leaders receive training at the institution’s advanced manufacturing and technology labs. As part of the study, economists examined the manufacturing industry’s evolution in the face of rapid technological development, with trends suggesting a shift toward a higher-skilled workforce. This underscores the importance of working closely with institutions such as Richland Community College to provide specialized training, and the need to further expand workforce training efforts across the state to better prepare Illinois residents to enter high-demand fields.

“We enthusiastically join the IMA efforts to strengthen the manufacturing ecosystem and, at Richland, we strive daily to deliver the advanced technical and essential skills training that provides the workforce necessary to continue Illinois’ strong manufacturing history and contribute to its future,” said Dr. Cristobal Valdez, President of Richland Community College. “This sector is vital to a brighter future for our community and the entire state.”

Manufacturing is particularly important in Decatur, as manufacturing generates $13.4 billion in economic output for Macon County each year – 50 percent of the county’s annual economy. According to the study, manufacturing supports 22,295 jobs in Macon County, with an average salary of $103,493. It’s estimated that every 10 manufacturing jobs directly supported by manufacturing in Macon County, another 11 jobs are created elsewhere within the county.

“Decatur has a rich heritage in manufacturing and we’re proud of the committed employees that contribute to our robust economy,” said Nicole Bateman, President of the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur & Macon County. “This talented workforce places Decatur companies on the forefront of innovation. From the kitchen pantry to the International Space Station, products manufactured in Decatur are utilized in nearly every country around the world. It’s imperative that we continue to invest in the cultivation of a skilled workforce to meet the demands in this new era of manufacturing. Our economies, at all levels, depend on it.”

The new economic impact study is among the most comprehensive looks at the true impact of manufacturing in Illinois, which has historically been underreported. The standard metrics fail to capture the multiplying economic effects of the industry, including hiring and purchases from vendors to support manufacturing operations., The study found the Illinois manufacturing industry has an employment multiplier of 2.7, meaning that for every 10 jobs directly created by manufacturers, another 17 jobs are created elsewhere in Illinois. This multiplier effect is significantly higher than other industries in Illinois, underlying the importance of adopting policies to support growth of the manufacturing industry.

“An important takeaway from this study is the sheer size of manufacturing’s economic presence in Illinois. Every job created by a manufacturer spurs additional hiring and spending across multiple industries in the state. These secondary economic effects, known as the multiplier effect, represent additional contributions to the economy and should not be overlooked,” said Joseph C. Von Nessen, Research Economist at the Darla Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina. “Because this multiplier effect is significantly higher than other industries in Illinois, future expansions of manufacturing have the potential to generate relatively higher secondary employment impacts compared to similar expansions in other sectors. The ongoing recovery from the pandemic as well as the long-term economic health of Illinois will depend on the continued success of manufacturing.”

Additional Manufacturing Matters tour stops are planned to take place in communities across Illinois throughout the summer. For more information, including a full copy of the report, please visit

About the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA)

The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association is the only statewide association dedicated exclusively to advocating, promoting and strengthening the manufacturing sector in Illinois. The IMA is the oldest and largest state manufacturing trade association in the United States, representing nearly 4,000 companies and facilities. For more information, visit