Where would we be without manufacturing?

It’s an answer that isn’t exactly quantifiable except in the extreme, and we don’t want to go there. Instead, the manufacturing industry plays an important role in the region, as it does across the country and many parts of the world.

In this issue, Prairie Business highlights the manufacturing industry and some of its players in the region. A quick snapshot of the industry:

● South Dakota exports $1.38 billion worth of manufacturing goods per year, according to the South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

● About 14% of Minnesota’s GDP and 40% of all Minnesota jobs, either directly or indirectly, come from manufacturing.

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● North Dakota produces about $4 billion worth of manufacturing every year, David Lehman, advanced manufacturing business development manager with the North Dakota Department of Commerce, told Prairie Business.

“Manufacturing has been down slightly (in North Dakota) but the downturn has primarily been due to soft demand for manufactured goods for the agriculture and energy industries,” Lehman said. “There have been some disruptions which have impacted North Dakota manufacturers during the COVID-19 pandemic, but these have been largely temporary. Some of these disruptions include short-term shutdowns amid COVID-19 exposure within the operations, supply chain disruptions as a result of manufacturing shutdowns and general transportation logistic issues outside of North Dakota. That being said, it appears manufacturing in North Dakota will be stronger in the future as a result of the pandemic.”

That latter part – that manufacturing will likely be stronger in the future – is good news for the state and for the regional economy.

Let’s cross our fingers, get over the pandemic, and see those positives come to fruition.

This issue of Prairie Business also takes a look at how construction and engineering firms are using drones in their work. It’s not just for marketing purposes anymore, and over the next five years or so experts say there will likely be more changes and trends with how companies use unmanned aircraft. We also have a story about the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the region’s agricultural workers. It has been the “two” in the one-two punch that farmers have been hit with over the past few years.

There’s more to read, of course, and so keep turning the pages and let us know what trends you’re noticing in your own industry.

Andrew Weeks
Andrew Weeks

Prairie Business Editor Andrew Weeks may be reached at aweeks@prairiebusinessmagazine.com or 701-780-1276.