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

August 23, 2022

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

New Economic Study Finds Manufacturing Generates $4.9 billion in Economic Output in Rock Island County, Supports 13,050 Jobs

MOLINE – The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) continued its statewide “Manufacturing Matters” tour on Tuesday with a stop at Deere & Company World Headquarters in Moline 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 polices 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 Quad Cities region, which is dominated by high-tech operations including agriculture innovation, metal fabrication, farm machinery and equipment machining, food production, defense manufacturing, technology integration, additive manufacturing, tooling, controls, and coatings. In Rock Island County, the study found the industry creates $4.9 billion in economic output each year, supporting almost 20 percent of the county’s economy. This includes 13,050 jobs, generating $923.9 million in salaries and benefits for working men and women in the area. In Henry County, manufacturing creates an additional $752.5 million in economic output each year and supports another 2,582 jobs. In Mercer County, manufacturing generates $303 million for the economy each year, employing 852 people.

The study’s findings were detailed during an event at Deere & Company World Headquarters in Moline. In operation for 185 years, John Deere has revolutionized the agricultural and construction industries by producing intelligent, connected machines and applications to help customers become more productive and sustainable. An iconic Illinois brand, John Deere is the world’s leading producer of agricultural machinery, heavy equipment, forestry machinery, diesel engines, drive trains, and lawn care equipment.

“I am encouraged by the increased activity and problem-solving demonstrated by local manufacturers. Their response to challenges brought on by the pandemic, inflation, and supply chain challenges have me optimistic about the growth of manufacturing in our region,” said Chris Caves, Vice President of Business & Economic Growth at the Quad Cities Chamber. “Manufacturers are stretching their capabilities, researching new markets, investing in innovative technologies, job sharing, reshoring production activities, investing in sustainable energy solutions, and welcoming underrepresented populations into their factories. The grit and resilience of Quad Cities Manufacturers has them thinking creatively and strategically. We’re a legacy manufacturing community and we are thriving!”

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.

“Partnerships with the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association and area employers strengthens our institution’s commitment to IGNITE local interest in all areas of manufacturing while preparing the skilled workforce our communities desperately need,” said Tim Wynes, President, Black Hawk College.

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

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