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Supply Chain News: Which US States are Best for Manufacturing 2018?


Indiana Again Tops the List, as SCDigest Turns Letter Grades into Numeric Score from Ball State Data

June 20, 2018
SCDigest Editorial Staff

Which US states are best for manufacturing?

The researchers at Ball State University's Center for Business and Economic Research, with its partners at an organization called Conexus Indiana, have as usual released their 2018 Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card.

Supply Chain Digest Says...

Indiana was followed in the top 5 by Utah, North Carolina, Missouri, and Texas.

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Among other insights, the report rates each US state in terms of its attractiveness for manfacturing based on nine different factors, from current momentum in growing and attracting manufacturing to the tax environment to logistics support and more.

It is a little confusing, as the report also gives a standalone manufacturing score as well, based on just three criteria: the share of total income earned by manufacturing employees in each state, the wage premium paid to manufacturing workers relative to the other states’ employees, and the share of manufacturing employment per capita.

But the report then gives each state a grade from A to F on each of the nine factors, including pluses and minuses, and indicated whether that score is up, down, or flat from the previous year. But oddly, it does not produce a summary score and rankings across all the nine attributes.

SCDigest to the rescue. We took the Conexus Indiana data and assigned a numeric score to each letter grade, the way it is typically done to produce a school grade point average. That is: A = 4.0, A- = 3.7, B+ = 3.3., etc.

The scores for each state were then average evenly across categories, producing the best to worst ranking, as shown in the table below:

Composite Scores of the Best States for Manufacturing 2018


Source: SCDigest Analysis from 2018 Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card Date

(Article Continued Below)



As can be seen, under this system, Indiana comes out on top again this year as it did in 2017 with roughly a B composite average - convenient for the Indiana-based Ball State analysts. Indiana was followed in the top 5 by Utah, North Carolina, Missouri, and Texas.

Hawaii was dead last, barely ahead of New Mexico, with roughly D- scores.

Was the fix in for Indiana in the research? SCDigest doesn't believe so. The Hoosier state has made itself very manufacturing friendly in recent years, such as approving right to work legislation and reducing taxes, and indeed has one of the top percent of manufactucturing jobs relative to total jobs of any state in the nation.

Any reaction to ranking of states for manufacturing attractiveness? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback section below.


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