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The Midwest states are tooled for production

October 28, 2020

Of the four U.S. geographic regions, the Midwest had the highest average concentration of production occupations in May 2019, with an employment share almost one and a half times the national average. Indiana and Wisconsin had the highest employment shares in production occupations in the United States, with Indiana’s share twice the national average.

 Location quotients for production occupations in Midwest states, May 2019
State and occupation Location quotient

Indiana

2.02

Engine and other machine assemblers

8.31

Fiberglass laminators and fabricators

6.17

Heat treating equipment setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

5.16

Welding, soldering, and brazing machine setters, operators, and tenders

4.09

Cutting, punching, and press machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

3.93

Molding, coremaking, and casting machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

3.80

Patternmakers, metal and plastic

3.62

Lathe and turning machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

3.47

Furniture finishers

3.44

Metal-refining furnace operators and tenders

3.32

Wisconsin

1.87

Patternmakers, metal and plastic

6.60

Grinding and polishing workers, hand

5.17

Paper goods machine setters, operators, and tenders

4.73

Computer numerically controlled tool operators

4.62

Foundry mold and coremakers

4.34

Print binding and finishing workers

3.86

Woodworking machine setters, operators, and tenders, except sawing

3.66

Food and tobacco roasting, baking, and drying machine operators and tenders

3.64

Structural metal fabricators and fitters

3.35

Packaging and filling machine operators and tenders

3.19

Michigan

1.76

Model makers, metal and plastic

8.69

Engine and other machine assemblers

7.05

Tool and die makers

6.36

Patternmakers, wood

5.90

Foundry mold and coremakers

4.29

Molding, coremaking, and casting machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

4.15

Patternmakers, metal and plastic

4.09

Lathe and turning machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

4.04

Cutting, punching, and press machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

4.02

Computer numerically controlled tool programmers

3.18

Ohio

1.50

Foundry mold and coremakers

4.60

Engine and other machine assemblers

4.59

Rolling machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

3.77

Multiple machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

3.08

Extruding and drawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

2.62

Extruding, forming, pressing, and compacting machine setters, operators, and tenders

2.59

Molding, coremaking, and casting machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

2.56

Tool and die makers

2.54

Pourers and casters, metal

2.52

Heat treating equipment setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

2.50

Iowa

1.49

Slaughterers and meat packers

6.47

Cooling and freezing equipment operators and tenders

6.28

Crushing, grinding, and polishing machine setters, operators, and tenders

3.64

Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers

3.61

Welding, soldering, and brazing machine setters, operators, and tenders

3.60

Food cooking machine operators and tenders

3.30

Woodworking machine setters, operators, and tenders, except sawing

3.06

Plant and system operators, all other

2.92

Chemical plant and system operators

2.67

Fiberglass laminators and fabricators

2.44

Kansas

1.33

Aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging, and systems assemblers

21.77

Layout workers, metal and plastic

7.29

Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers

3.70

Computer numerically controlled tool programmers

3.16

Adhesive bonding machine operators and tenders

2.91

Slaughterers and meat packers

2.70

Petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers

2.67

Chemical equipment operators and tenders

2.37

Food cooking machine operators and tenders

2.36

Power plant operators

2.21

South Dakota

1.26

Fiberglass laminators and fabricators

10.50

Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers

4.90

Engine and other machine assemblers

4.61

Slaughterers and meat packers

4.53

Welding, soldering, and brazing machine setters, operators, and tenders

4.26

Painting, coating, and decorating workers

4.12

Cutting and slicing machine setters, operators, and tenders

3.98

Woodworking machine setters, operators, and tenders, except sawing

3.27

Coil winders, tapers, and finishers

3.18

Extruding, forming, pressing, and compacting machine setters, operators, and tenders

3.12

Nebraska

1.19

Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers

8.94

Extruding, forming, pressing, and compacting machine setters, operators, and tenders

4.12

Slaughterers and meat packers

3.76

Furnace, kiln, oven, drier, and kettle operators and tenders

3.63

Cleaning, washing, and metal pickling equipment operators and tenders

2.64

Separating, filtering, clarifying, precipitating, and still machine setters, operators, and tenders

2.48

Plating machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

2.36

Stationary engineers and boiler operators

2.29

Crushing, grinding, and polishing machine setters, operators, and tenders

2.12

Mixing and blending machine setters, operators, and tenders

2.07

Minnesota

1.18

Slaughterers and meat packers

3.63

Photographic process workers and processing machine operators

3.15

Print binding and finishing workers

2.78

Chemical plant and system operators

2.59

Cooling and freezing equipment operators and tenders

2.46

Stationary engineers and boiler operators

2.38

Computer numerically controlled tool programmers

2.34

Coil winders, tapers, and finishers

2.02

Prepress technicians and workers

2.00

Furnace, kiln, oven, drier, and kettle operators and tenders

1.96

Missouri

1.18

Painting, coating, and decorating workers

3.19

Coil winders, tapers, and finishers

2.50

Cooling and freezing equipment operators and tenders

2.27

Sawing machine setters, operators, and tenders, wood

2.23

Shoe and leather workers and repairers

2.22

Cleaning, washing, and metal pickling equipment operators and tenders

2.09

Paper goods machine setters, operators, and tenders

2.03

Chemical equipment operators and tenders

2.01

Model makers, metal and plastic

1.98

Food batchmakers

1.97

Illinois

1.15

Drilling and boring machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

2.37

Multiple machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

2.28

Production workers, all other

1.96

Patternmakers, metal and plastic

1.95

Machinists

1.91

Food batchmakers

1.87

Tool and die makers

1.76

Lathe and turning machine tool setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

1.74

Print binding and finishing workers

1.69

Plating machine setters, operators, and tenders, metal and plastic

1.62

North Dakota

0.92

Petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers

4.07

Plant and system operators, all other

3.74

Power plant operators

3.54

Crushing, grinding, and polishing machine setters, operators, and tenders

3.53

Metal workers and plastic workers, all other

2.06

Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers

1.95

Food and tobacco roasting, baking, and drying machine operators and tenders

1.72

Separating, filtering, clarifying, precipitating, and still machine setters, operators, and tenders

1.57

Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators

1.55

Structural metal fabricators and fitters

1.50

Nearly all Midwest states had high concentrations of specific production occupations relative to the national average. In Ohio, the top ten occupations with the highest concentrations were all production occupations, with foundry mold and coremakers taking the top spot at over four and a half times the national average.

Michigan maintains its reputation as a manufacturing state: metal and plastic model makers (8.69 times the national employment concentration), engine and other machine assemblers (7.05), tool and die makers (6.36), and wood patternmakers (5.90) were Michigan’s occupations with the highest concentrations.

Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers (8.94) was Nebraska’s occupation with the highest concentration. In Kansas, aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging, and systems assemblers occupied the Sunflower State’s number one spot, which was the highest concentration of any state at 22 times the national share.

These data are from the Occupational Employment Statistics program. To learn more, see the May 2019 data for production occupations. The location quotient is the ratio of the concentration of an occupation in an area relative to that occupation’s concentration in the United States. For example, an occupation that makes up 10 percent of employment in a state compared with 2 percent of U.S. employment would have a location quotient of 5 for the state. Differences between location quotients have not been tested for statistical significance. 

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, The Midwest states are tooled for production on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2020/the-midwest-states-are-tooled-for-production.htm (visited November 30, 2020).

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