Minnesota manufacturers are a resourceful, innovative and resilient group. Their collective value to our state’s economic vitality cannot be overemphasized.

Consider these statistics compiled by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development:

• Manufacturing represents 322,000 jobs statewide – 13% of all private-sector jobs.

• The average manufacturing job supports another 3.24 jobs in other segments of the economy.

• Manufacturing added $52.7 billion to the state’s economy in 2018, representing the second largest contribution to the state’s gross domestic product by an industry.

• Across the state, manufacturing accounts for between 8% and 21% of total employments, depending on the region.

Manufacturing is a critical backbone of our state’s economy. As the state’s manufacturing association, the Minnesota Chamber and our local partners encourage you to salute and celebrate the contributions of manufacturers in your communities during Minnesota Manufacturing Week, Oct. 1-7.

The Minnesota Chamber’s annual “Manufacturers’ Summit: Connecting our products and services to the world” is from 9:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Delta Hotels – Minneapolis Northeast. Please join us.

It’s never been more important to understand the interconnectedness of business in local communities and around the globe. This year’s summit will examine the importance of trade agreements and the impact that trade uncertainty can have on the health of manufacturers and the overall state economy.

Consider data collected in the Grow Minnesota! Partnership, our robust private-sector program focused on business retention, assistance and expansion. It is conducted in coordination with 90-plus local chambers and economic development entities.

In 2015, 80% percent of businesses that exported had increased sales compared to 69% of those who did not export. In visits thus far this year, the difference is 79% to 65%. Manufacturers are six times more likely to export. In 2015, 61% of manufacturers exported compared to 13% of companies in other sectors. The respective numbers for 2019 are 60% and 9%.

The dynamics of the world economy provide a perfect backdrop for the Manufacturers’ Summit.

Attendees will hear from Gov. Tim Walz on manufacturing’s importance to Minnesota. Martha Bárcena Coqui, Mexican ambassador to the United States, will speak to the benefits of the proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and a strong trade relationship between Mexico and the United States.

A panel of business leaders will share perspectives on the importance of global markets for Minnesota manufacturers. This event is always a great opportunity to connect manufacturers with vendors.

Plus, manufacturers will have the option to attend a bonus session: MN Supplier Match Roundtable where we’ll connect Minnesota-based contract manufacturers with OEMs in Minnesota. This is your opportunity to meet face-to-face with sourcing leaders from OEMs to discuss general supply chain issues, best practices and opportunities to expand the supply chain in Minnesota.

Many local chambers of commerce across the state coordinate events with local manufacturers to showcase facilities and promote the quality jobs available right in their back yards. Minnesota Manufacturing Week is a perfect time to showcase the strength of manufacturing as well as to help policymakers understand the necessary steps to strengthen our position in the dynamics of the world economy.

Doug Loon is president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.

Jeffrey Jackson is the managing editor of the Owatonna People's Press. He can be reached at 507-444-2371 or via email at jjackson@owatonna.com

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