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Report says Montana’s adding manufacturing jobs faster than rest of the nation

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News from Montana State University, Bozeman

BOZEMAN — Employment in Montana’s manufacturing economy has grown much faster than in the rest of the U.S., according to a new report commissioned by the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center at Montana State University.

The 2018 State of Montana Manufacturing report, prepared by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana, indicates that Montana added 3,500 manufacturing jobs during 2010-2017, an increase of 21 percent. That’s compared to 8 percent nationwide.

The increase, which can be explained partly by an increase in the number of businesses making alcoholic beverages, structural metals and electronic instruments, occurred despite continuing decline in the state’s wood and paper products manufacturing, the report added. Other significant sectors of Montana’s manufacturing economy include food and furniture products.

Also according to the report:

—  Most manufacturers who were surveyed said that, in 2018, they expected increases in their production (62 percent) and profits (59 percent).

—  Montana’s manufacturing workers earned $1.2 billion in 2016, an increase of more than 19 percent since 2010.

—  Montana manufacturing workers earned an average of $47,831 per year, higher than the state average of $40,943.

—  Montana export of manufacturing products was valued at roughly $1.1 billion in 2017. Roughly About half of that was purchased by Canada, followed by China and Korea. Exports dropped slightly, 1.1 percent, during 2016-2017.

—  There are 3,372 manufacturing businesses in Montana during the most recent count in 2016.

—  Most manufacturers in Montana are small businesses. Roughly half of businesses with employees had fewer than four.

—  Manufacturing of alcoholic beverages continues to be an area of strong growth in Montana. In 2015-2016, the number of people employed by breweries in the state increased from 575 to 752; the number employed by distilleries increased from 102 to 154. Other growing sectors include small arms and electrical instruments, both of which roughly tripled their number of employees between 2010 and 2016.

MMEC, which is housed in the Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering at MSU, works with manufacturers to help them grow, innovate and make their businesses more profitable. MMEC has field offices in Billings, Bozeman, Great Falls, Kalispell and Missoula.

 The 2017 State of Montana Manufacturing report can be found on MMEC’s website:



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