Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin had last year asked Lawrence Miller, Secretary of Commerce and Community Development, to undertake a study to determine the economic contribution manufacturing makes to Vermont jobs, capital importation and innovation.
That study has now been completed and released, and shows that manufacturing contributes about 11.1 percent or $2.9 billion of Vermont’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Other highlights from the report:-
- Manufacturers account for over 1,000 firms in Vermont;
- Most are small, with about 60 percent having fewer than 10 employees;
- Manufacturing employs about 31,300 Vermonters, or about 10.25 percent of Vermont’s total workforce of about 305,300; and
- Average annual earnings in Vermont manufacturing is about 36 percent above statewide average earnings (i.e. $51,829 in manufacturing vs. $38,124 on average).
“When you think manufacturing, you may think crumbling brick buildings with smoke stacks, but in Vermont, that is not our profile. Manufacturers in Vermont are sophisticated, high-tech employers producing everything from socks to surgical equipment,” Gov. Shumlin said. “Manufacturing in Vermont includes companies like Darn Tough Socks that are creating world class products being used by our military and consumers worldwide. It is about innovation in manufacturing that keeps them competitive and at the cutting edge of their sectors.”
The report also offers recommendations regarding workforce development, advocacy for manufacturing, networking by Vermont manufacturers, and public outreach to educate Vermonters and the Legislature about the vibrancy and nature of manufacturing in Vermont.
The workforce recommendation, for example, speaks to the urgency of increasing math skills in schools to assure Vermonters have access to the well paying, innovative jobs Vermont manufacturers are creating, Miller said.
Secretary Miller is working with the University of Vermont and others to enhance Vermont’s innovation ecosystem. The state hopes that a return to a separate Department of Economic Development with its own Commissioner will help highlight manufacturing. In addition, the Agency’s international trade efforts are focused on increasing export markets to Vermont companies.
“We have more to do, but this report gives us some priority areas to continue to work on and a menu of options for the future,” Miller said. “Manufacturing businesses in Vermont are an important component of our economy. Manufacturing is alive and thriving, and we want it to grow.”
Read the full Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Report – Download (pdf; 6.2MB)