The Top 10 States for Manufacturing

Concerns about American manufacturing growth have moved front and center in discussions about both the U.S. economy and presidential politics.

600991913 (1)And all of it is recognition that factories and the manufacturing jobs they provide must remain the backbone of an American enterprise that is still being counted on to carry the world forward.

Where are the best places in the country to do manufacturing? That question isn’t just a measure of what states have the most factory jobs or where manufacturing makes the biggest contribution to state GDP. It also takes into account where manufacturers can locate with the best chance for success and growth.

The states with the biggest reliance on manufacturing and the largest concentrations of manufacturing employment are, by and large, the same states where manufacturing can be expected to flourish in the future. A few upstarts are changing the dynamic, however.

Site Selection Group made one attempt to rank the most competitive states for manufacturing. Last year, it took into account 6 ranking criteria. Labor availability weighted most heavily. Logistics, tax climate, utility costs, labor costs and union climate—completed the top 10.

Here’s Site Selection’s ranking, along with each state’s ranking in Chief Executive’s 2016 Best & Worst States for Business.

Manufacturing Chart

Another thing is clear by combining the Site Selection list and the Chief Executive survey results: Most of the states that are the most competitive as manufacturing sites also tend to be rising in overall esteem by CEOs and others as places to do any kind of business. This underscores the continued importance of manufacturing to a modern U.S. economy that is seen as depending on all sorts of services for growth.

Of the 10 states listed above, Texas, Florida and North Carolina have consistently been ranked in the top 5 by CEOs in Chief Executive’s Best & Worst States for Business for years. This year, Utah earned CEOs’ No. 1 position as the state with the best workforce quality. North Carolina, Utah and Idaho took the top 3 positions for Quality of Living Environment.

Review the entire 2016 Best & Worst States for Business results, including individual state rankings, CEO comments, methodology and more at



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