Like most other South Dakotans, I learned at an early age that I was expected to have a job and earn at least part of my own way in the world. I didn't always like it, but I understood that it was expected and that it was good for me and good for my community.
In those younger years, most jobs that were available involved making things, whether stacks of hay bales on the family farm or hamburgers and fries in the small-town diner. As I reflect on those early years, it occurs to me that those simple jobs were a form of manufacturing. Manufacturing, at its foundation, involves making things. In South Dakota, those "things'' can be simple or incredibly complicated, from helium-filled balloons at Raven Industries in Sioux Falls to electronic scoreboards at Daktronics in Brookings to cold saws and hydraulic ironworkers at Scotchman Industries in Philip.
This past week, South Dakota observed our first statewide Manufacturing Week (Sept. 30-Oct. 4). I issued an executive proclamation recognizing the importance of manufacturing to South Dakota's economy and way of life. How important? Well, consider:
At the end of 2012, South Dakota was home to 1,112 manufacturing businesses that provided 41,175 jobs, 10 percent of the state's workforce. That's an essential segment of our economy.
The average wage of those 41,175 jobs is $42176, and the majority of those jobs offer health insurance and other benefits. The total payroll for manufacturing jobs is $1.7 billion, and nearly all of that money goes into the state's economy.
The total output from South Dakota manufacturers in 2012 was $4 billion.
Employers and employees in the manufacturing sector show up for work, and they work hard. By "making things'' they create wealth as they supply the products that people need and want. In the process, they pay property taxes and sales and use taxes, give to charitable causes and support schools and other community institutions and causes.
In doing all of those things, the women and men in manufacturing add to the state's quality of life. That's worth recognizing, and that's why I proclaimed this past week Manufacturing Week in South Dakota.