The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) continued its statewide “Manufacturing Matters” tour on August 22 with a stop at Deere & Company World Headquarters in Moline to present the results of a new economic impact study measuring the industry’s substantial contributions to the state and regional economies.

The study was conducted by independent economists at the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina and found the total economic impact of manufacturing in Illinois is estimated to be between $580 billion and $611 billion annually, the largest share of any industry to the state’s Gross Domestic Product. Manufacturing directly employs 662,298 workers statewide but ultimately supports as many as 1,771,928 jobs, generating up to $150 billion in labor income for Illinois residents each year. It’s estimated that the manufacturing industry supports nearly 30% 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 especially vital 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 industry creates $4.9 billion in economic output each year, supporting almost 20% of the county’s economy. This includes 13,050 jobs that generate $923.9 million in salaries and benefits for employees in the area. In Henry County, manufacturing creates an additional $752.5 million in economic output each year and supports an additional 2,582 jobs. In Mercer County, manufacturing generates $303 million for the economy each year, employing 852 people.

“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 have them thinking creatively and strategically. We’re a legacy manufacturing community and we are thriving!”

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 emphasizes the need to work closely with education institutions, policy makers and manufacturers to provide specialized training, as well as the importance of expanding workforce training statewide to prepare Illinois residents to enter high-demand fields.

“Partnerships with the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association and area employers strengthen 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 of Black Hawk College.

The new economic impact study is among the most comprehensive looks at the impact of manufacturing in Illinois. 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, showing 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.”

For more information, including a full copy of the report, click here.