DECATUR – Central Illinois manufacturers are critical to the state’s economy, according to a new economic report.
The Illinois Manufacturers Association released a study this week on the economic impact of manufacturing on Illinois conducted by independent economists at the University of South Carolina.
The study found that manufacturing in Illinois contributes between $580 billion and $611 billion in total economic input annually, the largest contributor to the state’s gross domestic product of any industry.
“This new economic study confirms what we have long known – that manufacturing is the key pillar of our state’s economy and its success is vital to the success of our state,” said Mark Denzler, president and CEO of the direction of the association, during an event Wednesday in Decatur. .
Denzler spoke at Richland Community College, the first leg of what will be a tour of major manufacturing centers statewide. He cited Richland as an example of an institution preparing a more skilled workforce for the rapidly developing industry.
“At Richland, we strive daily to provide the advanced technical training and essential skills that provide the workforce needed to continue Illinois’ strong manufacturing history and contribute to its future,” said Cristobal Valdez, chairman of Richland, in a statement released after the event.
Manufacturing is especially important to Macon County as it contributes 50% of the county’s annual economy.
“Illinois is the epicenter of manufacturing in the United States,” Denzler said. “Decatur and Macon County are the epicenter of manufacturing in Illinois.”
According to the report, central Illinois counties generate billions of dollars directly and indirectly from manufacturing, in addition to creating thousands of jobs.
In Macon County, manufacturing generates $13.4 billion in total annual economic output and supports over 22,000 jobs.
Manufacturing in McLean County generates a total annual economic output of $2 billion and supports over 7,000 jobs.
Coles County manufacturers generate $1.1 billion in total annual economic output and support 3,489 jobs.
“The State of Illinois is fortunate to have a strong manufacturing base,” said Greg Webb, IMA Board Chairman and Vice President of State Government Relations. for Archer Daniels Midland Co.
ADM is a leading employer in the region and has its North American headquarters in Decatur.
Previous studies have underestimated the manufacturing sector’s contributions to the Illinois economy, according to an economist who conducted the IMA study.
“An important takeaway from this study is the magnitude of the manufacturing industry’s economic presence in Illinois,” said Joseph C. Von Nessen, research economist at the University’s Darla Moore School of Business. from South Carolina. “Each job created by a manufacturer spurs additional hiring and spending across multiple industries across the state.”
This so-called “multiplier effect,” Von Nessen said, is significantly higher for manufacturing than for other industries in Illinois, meaning economic growth in manufacturing could also lead to significant economic growth in other sectors.
“Opportunities in manufacturing are great,” Webb said.
Denzler suggested that some state-level policy changes could expand those opportunities.
There is a need to continue advocating for workforce readiness and recruitment, he said, in addition to taking steps to reduce manufacturers’ energy costs.
“Manufacturers are innovators and entrepreneurs, builders and producers, dreamers and leaders in solving our challenges and envisioning the future,” Denzler said. “It is imperative that our elected officials enact policies to continue to allow manufacturing to thrive in Illinois.”
Contact Taylor Vidmar at (217) 421-6949. Follow her on Twitter: @taylorvidmar11.