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IMA Continues Manufacturing Matters Tour at Alliance Board Meeting


November 10, 2022

“Manufacturing Matters” Tour Visits Kankakee County to Highlight Industry’s Important Role in State and Regional Economy 

New Economic Study Finds Manufacturing Generates $5 billion in Economic Output in Kankakee County, Supports 8,465 Jobs


BOURBONNAIS – The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) continued its statewide “Manufacturing Matters” tour on Thursday during an event held by the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County detailing 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 the state’s Gross Domestic Product by any industry. 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 each year. In all, it’s estimated the manufacturing industry supports nearly 30 percent of all jobs in Illinois, making it among the state’s largest industry sectors.

To highlight these important contributions, the IMA has been traveling to manufacturing facilities, educational institutions and economic development centers across Illinois to discuss the industry’s important role in communities large and small.

“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 Kankakee region. In Kankakee County, the study found the industry creates $5 billion in economic output each year, supporting 20 percent of the county’s economy. This includes 8,465 jobs with an average salary of $93,834, generating $933.3 million in salaries and benefits for working men and women in the area.

The study’s findings were detailed during a Board of Directors meeting of the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County at the Olivet Nazarene University’s Weber Center. The Economic Alliance of Kankakee County is a 501c6 public/private partnership tasked with encouraging and facilitating new investment in Kankakee County, with a focus on collaboration to move the needle in sustainable and equitable ways across the interconnected realms of business, workforce and community development.

“Manufacturing is a mainstay of the economic landscape of Kankakee County, and we are proud to be home to innovative companies that develop critical therapeutics, make healthy foods and produce high-quality metal products and machinery that’s shipped across the world,” said Timothy Nugent, President and CEO of the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County. “It’s not an accident that Kankakee County is ranked as #5 in the nation for manufacturing among small communities, and we remain committed to working with business leaders, public officials and local leaders to ensure even greater growth in the future.”

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.

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/.