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“Manufacturing Matters” Tour Visits Carbondale, Highlights Industry’s Important Role in State and Regional Economy

September 28, 2022

“Manufacturing Matters” Tour Visits Carbondale, Highlights Industry’s Important Role in State and Regional Economy 

New Economic Study Finds Manufacturing Generates $2.5 Billion in Economic Output in Jackson and Williamson Counties, Supports Nearly 7,400 Jobs 

CARBONDALE – The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) continued its statewide “Manufacturing Matters” tour on Wednesday with a stop at Com-Pac International to detail the results of a new economic impact study measuring the industry’s significant contributions to the state and regional economy.

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.

“Manufacturing is pivotal to the success of our state’s economy, creating jobs and building communities while developing innovative products that will lead our nation forward,” said Gordy Hulten, Chief Operating Officer of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “That why it’s important our elected officials enact polices to allow for the industry’s continued success, including investing in programs to grow our skilled workforce and ensure prosperity for generations to come.”

Manufacturing is particularly important in the Carbondale region. In Jackson County, manufacturing produces $594.8 million in economic output every year. The industry supports 1,942 jobs a year, generating $101.4 million in annual salaries and benefits. In neighboring Williamson County, the study found the industry creates $1.9 billion in economic output each year, supporting 20 percent of the county’s economy. This includes 5,454 jobs, generating $316.8 million in salaries and benefits for working men and women in the area.

“Manufacturers are a vital contributor to our city’s economic development ecosystem, providing stable jobs and generating tax revenue to support important programs,” said Steven Mitchell, Economic Development Director of the City of Carbondale. “We look forward to building on this record of success and growing investments in the future.”

The study’s findings were detailed during an event at Com-Pac International, a leading manufacturer of high-integrity packaging for a wide variety of medical, food service and industrial applications. The company is a leading innovator in the design, engineering and production of custom flexible plastic packaging, employing more than 225 full and part-time direct production, engineering, management and support personnel at its 110,000-square-foot headquarters facility located in Carbondale.

“Even as we faced challenges created by the pandemic, we continued to innovate, producing flexible medical, industrial and private label packaging for our customers across the world,” said Greg Sprehe, President and CEO, Com-Pac International. “From packaging products for fresh-cut produce, frozen foods, stand-up pouch closures and food storage bags to laboratory specimen handling kits for COVID-19, we strived to meet the moment by creating relevant new products and providing stable, well-paying jobs for our employees.”

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.”

As part of the study, economists also 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 education institutions, policy makers and manufacturers to provide specialized training, and the need to further expand workforce training across the state to better prepare Illinois residents to enter high-demand fields. The IMA is leading these efforts, including successfully championing the creating of two new world-class manufacturing academies scheduled to open this fall, passing legislation requiring all high schools to offer career and technical education by 2025, establishing an apprenticeship tax credit for manufacturers that train employees, and partnering with the Pritzker Administration to launch a new multi-million dollar ad campaign highlighting manufacturing jobs that will launch later this year.

Additional “Manufacturing Matters” tour stops are planned to take place in communities across Illinois in the coming weeks. 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