Research Briefing | Mar 6, 2024

Five sectors leading manufacturing job growth across US metros

Five manufacturing sectors have contributed significant job growth in many metros in recent years, at a time when employment in the broader sector has been largely stagnant: pharmaceuticals; computers and electronics; automobiles; aerospace; and food and beverage manufacturing. Some of the job gains stem from the pandemic, which spurred demand for computers with the rise in work from home. It also fueled investment in medicines and vaccines. Other growth is tied to the production of spacecraft, EVs, and related charging stations. Job changes were somewhat disparate in that some metros had outsized gains while others incurred job losses. We forecast that these key manufacturing sectors will continue to see moderate growth over the next few years as the impact from the pandemic wanes.

What you will learn:

  • Metros that gained the most jobs in these sectors between 2019 to 2023 include Dallas, San Jose, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Chicago. Smaller metros with sizable gains include Huntsville (AL), Palm Bay (FL), Elkhart (IN), Bloomington (IL), and Ogden (UT).
  • Job gains in the pharmaceutical sector were proportionate to market size in that Indianapolis, New York, Chicago, Miami, and Boston saw the highest job gains between 2019 and 2023. Computer and electronics job gains were highly concentrated in San Jose, yet Dallas, San Francisco, Kansas City, and Austin also saw healthy growth in the sector.
  • Auto manufacturing job gains were high in Phoenix, Bloomington, Dallas, Elkhart, and San Francisco. Most of the growth is attributed to large EV production facilities in these metros. Aerospace job changes were disproportionate to market size as Seattle, which has the biggest share of aerospace jobs, lost the most jobs, while Huntsville and Palm Bay gained the most jobs.
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