The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) today released the Wisconsin Economic Future Study highlighting the industries that drive the state’s economy.
The study was commissioned by WEDC, Milwaukee 7 and the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership. It was conducted by the Manufacturing Performance Institute (MPI).
The same study was first conducted by MPI and the WI Department of Commerce in 2005, and this new study compares the state’s economic competitiveness based on data for 2011 against the results in the 2005 study.
As per the study, Wisconsin now has 37 driver industries, which is a huge improvement over the 24 industries identified in the 2005 report. A region-wise breakup shows anywhere between 12-41 industries in each of the seven regions.
John Brandt, the MPI author of the study, says that understanding the industries that drive Wisconsin’s economy and how to better support them would improve economic performance.
The study assesses Wisconsin’s competitiveness based on exports, workforce performance and innovation in the selected driver industries as compared to that of competitive states and the U.S. as a whole.
Lee Swindall, vice president of business and industry development for WEDC, said Wisconsin needs to reinvest in technology, workforce development and productivity in order to improve the state’s competitiveness.
Out of the 37 driver industries, thirty-one have been growing between 2008 and 2011, with manufacturing leading the way.
The gross state product of Wisconsin’s manufacturing industry is $51.3 billion, and the industry employs more than 400,000 workers with carried payrolls in excess of $21 billion. The industry spent $91 billion on materials and more than $4 billion on capital investments in 2011 alone.
Brandt suggests in the report that Wisconsin can positively impact the business climate and these driver industries in four ways, as outlined below:-
- Concentrate regional and state economic development efforts to strengthen driver industries and their industry clusters;
- Create an ongoing “economic future” structure that will be in place, irrespective of external or internal changes, for helping businesses foster and sustain improvement;
- Address both the perceived and real skills shortages facing the state;
- Establish a legislative approach for examining policies that affect driver industries and their clusters, and develop a package that will support business.