Manufacturing, a crucial component of the U.S. economy, is experiencing a resurgence across the nation. Identifying these thriving hubs of activity provides valuable insights for investors, policymakers, job seekers, and other stakeholders.
Motivated by this, we ranked all 50 states, basing our evaluations on metrics such as manufacturing output, employment rates, average annual salaries, number of job postings, and search volume for “manufacturing jobs.” Explore our findings to discover the places emerging as manufacturing hotspots in America today.
- California and Texas are the best states for manufacturing.
- Manufacturing jobs in California have the highest average annual salary: $117,801.
- Manufacturing jobs in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metropolitan area have an average salary of $279,380.
- Nevada had the highest manufacturing employment growth since 2018 (+17.1%).
- Bloomington, IL, has seen the highest increase in manufacturing employment (+147%) since 2018.
- Wisconsin has the most manufacturing job posts per capita on Indeed.
Ranking the Top U.S. Manufacturing Hubs
Identify where manufacturing employment has grown and declined since 2018 by exploring the interactive map below. Let’s also look at how each state ranked across five different metrics and overall.
Overall, California, Texas, and Indiana claimed the top spots as the three best states for manufacturing, showcasing their current dominance in the industry.
To rank manufacturing output, we used three metrics: the 2021 manufacturing output and 2022 total exported manufactured commodities in USD, plus the 2022 percentage of output attributed to manufacturers. Texas had an unmatched manufacturing output, while California ranked second for output but paid its workers the most generous annual wages.
Meanwhile, Indiana’s third-place standing was complemented by its residents’ evident drive for manufacturing roles, given it’s the sixth most searched state for “manufacturing jobs” and third place for manufacturing output. The following rounded out the top 10 best states for manufacturing:
7. South Carolina
As with all spectrums, some states languished at the opposite end. Unfortunately, Hawaii, Alaska, and Delaware grappled with challenges and ranked as the least favorable states for manufacturing.
A More Detailed Look
While indicators such as job postings and exported goods help us understand the manufacturing sector better, they also reveal disparities. Below, we dive deeper into each metric for a more thorough exploration of the best and worst states.
In 2021, California led with a manufacturing output of $394.83 billion, followed by Texas at $226.95 billion and Ohio at $114.76 billion. For 2022 exported commodities, Texas exported $244.6 billion, outpacing California’s $117.7 billion. Hawaii and Alaska had the lowest exports at $148.8 million and $988.5 million, respectively. Regarding the 2022 percentage of output by manufacturers, Indiana was notable, with 27% of its output from manufacturers.
Regarding the percentage increase in manufacturing employment since 2018, Nevada led with a 17.1% rise, followed by Utah at 14.1% and Arizona at 13%. On the other end, Hawaii saw a decline of 11.9%, making it the state with the most significant decrease. Washington and New York follow with reductions of 6.4% and 4.9%, respectively. However, the states most in need of manufacturing workers were Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and South Dakota.
For the 2022 average annual salary in manufacturing, California topped the list with an average of $117,801, trailed by Massachusetts at $100,483 and Connecticut at $92,630. Conversely, Hawaii reported the lowest average annual salary at $52,281, with Arkansas and Mississippi earning slightly higher averages at $56,738 and $57,068, respectively.
We now turn our attention to metropolitan hubs and identify which areas are emerging as the epicenters of manufacturing’s resurgence.
For our analysis, we categorized metropolitan areas by size based on their population. Small metros had fewer than 250,000 residents, medium metros ranged from 250,000 to one million, and large metros had over one million.
Venturing into the data, we found that California’s San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro area boasted the highest average salary for manufacturing jobs overall, with an impressive $279,380 annually. For medium-sized metros, Trenton, NJ, had the highest average salary at $163,161 per year. Meanwhile, Decatur, IL, was the best-paying small metro area at over $107,000.
Smaller metro areas had also made significant strides in employment growth, often outpacing larger, more established hubs. Bloomington, IL, led the pack with a remarkable 147% increase in manufacturing employment since 2018—likely due to electric car maker Rivian. Following closely, the small metro area of El Centro, CA, experienced a 107% uptick.
The growth in other areas pales in comparison; for instance, Bloomington, IN, recorded the next-highest surge at 39%. The fastest growing manufacturing center among larger cities was the Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise area in Nevada at 17%, while among medium metros, it was Tyler, TX at 37%. These trends suggest that smaller cities are becoming the new epicenters of manufacturing growth.
Manufacturing’s Landscape is Shifting
The resurgence of U.S. manufacturing signals an industry reinvigoration and a profound reinvention in some areas. At the forefront of this transformation are states like California and Texas, which assertively hold their positions as the leaders in manufacturing. Yet, diving deeper into metro data, smaller areas like Bloomington, IL, and El Centro, CA, emerge as unexpected growth hotspots, challenging the more established locales. This evolving landscape paints a picture of traditional powerhouses working in tandem with rising stars, suggesting a multifaceted and promising future for U.S. manufacturing.
We synthesized data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Association of Manufacturers, Google Trends, and Indeed across the following variables to determine the best states for manufacturing:
- Manufacturing output (30%)
- 2022 manufacturing commodities exports (million/billion USD; Census)
- 2021 total manufacturing output (billion USD; NAM)
- Percentage of output that manufacturers account for (per state; NAM)
- Manufacturing employment (25%)
- Percentage increase in employment 2018-2022 (BLS)
- Percentage of workforce that manufacturers makeup (NAM)
- Average annual salary for manufacturers from BLS (25%)
- Manufacturing job postings on Indeed per 100,000 residents (10%)
- Google search volume for “manufacturing jobs” per 100,000 residents (10%)
Final scores were scaled by 1.3
Zetwerk is a leading global manufacturing platform that simplifies outsourcing for businesses across various sectors. Leveraging advanced technology and a vast network of trusted suppliers, Zetwerk delivers efficient, high-quality manufacturing solutions tailored to each client’s unique needs.
Fair Use Statement
You are welcome to share the findings presented in this report for noncommercial purposes. Should you choose to disseminate this information, we kindly request that you provide a link back to this page to ensure proper attribution.