PIERRE, S.D. – Today we’re kicking off the 6th annual South Dakota Manufacturing Week. Communities and businesses across the state continue to show appreciation and recognition for a vital industry. Manufacturers in South Dakota achieve some pretty remarkable things. Here’s a glimpse:
In South Dakota, there are 1,129 manufacturing businesses that supported 43,081 jobs last year. This means that 1 out of 10 jobs supported last year was in manufacturing. What’s more is that these jobs account for a total payroll of about $2.1 billion, money that goes directly back into our state’s economy.
You may be curious, what do our manufacturers produce? Well, a variety of industries benefit from products manufactured here. For example, almost 40 percent of our goods exported are processed foods. Almost 20 percent is machinery—think Terex, Rosenbauer, SmithCo, Agile, Manitou, Masaba, Applied Engineering and so many others manufacture products shipped around the globe. As you’d probably expect, South Dakota’s top export markets are Canada and Mexico, 39.4 percent and 25.4 percent respectively. But would it surprise you to know that Belgium, China and Japan also remain in our top five export markets?
Every day, we consume and use products manufactured right here in South Dakota, mostly without even knowing it. That mini Babybel cheese you love to snack on is made right here in Brookings, South Dakota. Brookings is a manufacturing hub—in fact, it’s the second largest manufacturing community in South Dakota. Larson’s storm doors, Daktronics billboards and scoreboards, 3M’s medical and healthcare supplies, those are just to name a few.
What about that delicious wine or microbrew you paired with your dinner last night? Did it come from Fernson, Spearfish Brewing Company, Belle Joli’, Prairie Berry or Shade? South Dakota winemakers and brewmasters share top-quality wine and other libations with customers near and far.
And family pets? They’re consumers and customers of many South Dakota manufacturers, too. Pet food manufacturers in both Mitchell (Performance Pet Products) and North Sioux City (Royal Canin) feed our furry friends, while Ruff Tuff Kennels safely and properly transports and shelters our pets.
The point is, manufacturing in South Dakota is alive and prospering. As evidence, South Dakota leaders, educators and philanthropists have come together to invest in our future workforce. In 2014, T. Denny Sanford donated $25 million, matched by $25 million in future funds from Gov. Dennis Daugaard, to create scholarships for students wishing to participate and obtain degrees in high-need, technical career fields. To date, more than 1,000 students have been awarded Build Dakota Scholarships. These students are going into welding, agriculture, precision manufacturing, contracting, IT and more. But more importantly, they’re graduating debt-free, landing well-paying jobs with benefits, and being promoted early on in their careers.
This week, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development will issue daily feature stories that shed light on some of South Dakota’s prospering manufacturing companies. I think you’ll be surprised with what is being produced, where it’s going and why it’s relevant to our economy—on a statewide, national and global scale.