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Oct 23, 2006
Skilled Workers needed in Winona
- Maria Theresa S. Samante Email this article

Manufacturing has been the lifeblood in the United States, but when the business decline, the manufacturing sector in Southeast Minnesota, particularly in Minnesota, has held its own. And even production jobs have been shipped overseas, Winona manufacturers are still hiring.


Minnesota has been doing fairly well, particularly Southeast Minnesota,” said Mike Haney, regional manager for the Minnesota Workforce Center.


Haney attributes Winona’s manufacturing success to the diversity of its businesses. He singled out composites businesses such as RTP and Wenonah Canoe along with Fastenal and Benchmark Electronics as examples of success stories.


The median wages for manufacturing jobs in Southeast Minnesota have increased to $12.76 per hour but still delay behind the national average of $16.56 according to Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Plastics and composites, rubber products, medical equipment and computer and electronic product are such industries that have shown significant gains in the region.


“The job market has seen slow but steady improvement in recent years,” said Jennifer Ridgeway, a Rochester-based analyst for DEED.


She also added that while manufacturing jobs won’t grow as fast as service sector jobs, certain niche industries such as plastics, machinery and medical supplies will do better than average.


Manufacturing industry is very important to the local economy. According to DEED, manufacturing accounted for more than 21.5 % of the jobs and 29% of the wages in Southeast Minnesota in 2003. About half of the industry jobs benefit from sophisticated or new manufacturing technologies. While in an employment review done in 2003 states that “during the 1990s, while manufacturing stagnated elsewhere, the sector continued to flourish in the Southeast, increasing 19 percent.”

The DEED also expect that the manufacturing in the region will grow up to 8.6% or about 3, 776 jobs between the year 2002 and 2012. Factory jobs in food, machinery and fabricated product manufacturers are foresee to boom in that period.

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