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

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September 22, 2022

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

New Economic Study Finds Manufacturing Generates $4.6 billion in Economic Output in Champaign County, Supports 12,528 Jobs

CHAMPAIGN – The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) continued its statewide “Manufacturing Matters” tour on Thursday with a stop at Parkland College 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 a key pillar of our state economy, and the industry’s 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 Manufacturers’ 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 policies to allow for the industry’s continued success, foster capital investment and grow new jobs for generations to come.”

Manufacturing is particularly important in the Champaign region. In Champaign County, the study found the industry creates $4.6 billion in economic output each year, supporting 14 percent of the county’s economy. This includes 12,528 jobs, generating $736.6 million in salaries and benefits for working men and women in the area.

“We’re proud that so many manufacturers call Champaign County home,” said Carly McCrory-McKay, Executive Director of the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation. “From flight simulators in Urbana and sports equipment in Champaign to hair products in Rantoul and tactical lighting products in Seymour, Champaign County has a long history of making products that have impacted the world. Today, along with the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, Parkland College, and community partners, we’re excited to recognize this top industry in our community and celebrate its significant economic impact.”

The study’s findings were detailed during an event at the Parkhill Applied Technology Center at Parkland College, where students receive hands-on training to prepare them for in-demand jobs at manufacturers across the region. Parkland recently received a $4.99 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to lead a consortium of Illinois community colleges in the implementation of competency-based education, which will test skills students already bring to the classroom to avoid redundant training and help them complete their training more efficiently.

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.

“Parkland College is pleased to partner with the IMA, area employers, the Champaign County EDC, and our community college peers to prepare the workforce for the current and future needs of the manufacturing industry,” said Dr. Pam Lau, Executive Vice President at Parkland College. “As a vital part of our state and regional economy, manufacturing education must keep pace with innovations in the industry. Parkland College is evolving our curriculum to become more flexible than ever to serve the needs of both employers and workers. This—combined with the cultivation of a strong workforce pipeline and ensuring students have access to the latest equipment—will be our focus moving forward.”

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 in the coming weeks. For more information, including a full copy of the report, please visit https://ima-net.org/2022economicanalysis/

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 https://ima-net.org/.

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