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Celebrating our Manufacturers

Governor Walz has proclaimed October is Manufacturing Month in Minnesota because of the importance of this critical industry and the need to highlight the many career opportunities in this in-demand field.

  • Manufacturing accounts for 11.4% of statewide employment. 
  • 86,500 job openings are expected by 2028 as older workers retire.
  • Average annual wages for workers in manufacturing are $70,860, 10% higher than across all industries in Minnesota.  

Lake City, like many of our fellow river cities in SE MN is fortunate to be home to so many manufacturers. It is a (if not THE) key component of the dynamic fabric of our economy. The fact that we have such healthy blend of tourism, retail, other professional services, and manufacturing in our city and region should never be taken for granted.

I grew up the son of a union chain maker in Winona. My first job out of high school was making reinforced thermal plastics. While I decided in time that the job was not necessarily for me, it taught me a plethora of problem solving skills, introduced me to a whole host of wonderful folks that are still in my life, helped me gain an appreciation for the complexity of operations and massive investments made by the owners, and last but certainly not least, provided me with healthy paychecks that set me up with a decent financial foundation as I set out on my own as a young adult.

At this moment in history, our great manufacturers are faced with once in a generation challenges. A labor market shortage has left many companies short staffed, hampering growth, and placing extra stress on everyone within the organizations. Supply chain problems have left no businesses untouched. Affordable housing scarcity makes it difficult for folks to live in the same communities in which they work, adding to labor woes. This period of rapid inflation makes costs volatile and higher. Covid has made simply working side by side a challenge, and has forced much thought and resources to be diverted to solving problems and following rules unique to the pandemic.

And yet our manufacturers persevere. For this they deserve all the accolades and support our community can muster. We at the Chamber celebrate them and are continually working to help find solutions to some of the most difficult problems of the day. We are at the table with local and statewide leaders making sure manufacturing concerns are always top of mind.

Elizabeth and I would like wish our manufacturing businesses a happy Manufacturing Month. We also wish to hear more from the people involved in manufacturing at every level. From ownership, to management, to laborers, we ALWAYS welcome your insights and guidance as we settle into our new roles here.


Ed Hoffman

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