Gov. Peter Shumlin and Commerce Secretary Lawrence Miller today unveiled a report outlining the positive impact of manufacturing on Vermont's economy and highlighting steps the state can take to strengthen that important industry.
"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 Governor last year asked Miller, Secretary of Commerce and Community Development, to undertake this study to determine the economic contribution manufacturing makes to Vermont jobs, capital importation and innovation. President Obama has launched a similar effort on a national scale.
After research and outreach with employers statewide, Miller said manufacturing is critical to our economy. In addition:
§ Manufacturers account for over 1,000 firms in Vermont.
§ Most are small, with about 60% having fewer than 10 employees.
§ Manufacturing employs about 31,300 Vermonters, or about 10.25% of Vermont's total workforce of about 305,300.
§ Average annual earnings in Vermont manufacturing is about 36% above statewide average earnings (i.e. $51,829 in manufacturing vs. $38,124 on average).
§ Manufacturing contributes about 11.1% or $2.9 billion (in Year 2009) of Vermont's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The report contains a series of 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. (See attached list.)
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.
Miller is working with the University of Vermont and others to enhance Vermont's innovation ecosystem. The 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."
To view the report: http://accd.vermont.gov/press_releases/amp_report_release