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Supply Chain News: Which US States are Best for Manufacturing 2020?


Utah Edges Out Usual Winner Indiana to Top the List, as SCDigest Turns Letter Grades into Numeric Score from Ball State Data

Sept. 9, 2020
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 2020 Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card.

Supply Chain Digest Says...

Hawaii was dead last, barely below Alaska, New Jersey, West Virginia and Maine, with roughly D and D- average scores among them.

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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.

Those are:


Manufacturing Health: Rating includes three variables: 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.


Logistics Health: Rating includes total logistics industry income as a share of total state income and the employment per capita. Also included is a measure infrastructure spending as the per capita expenditure on highway construction.


Human Capital: Rating includes rankings of educational
attainment at the high school and collegiate level, the first-year retention rate of adults in community and technical colleges, the number of associates degrees awarded annually on a per capita basis, and the share of adults enrolled in adult basic education.


Worker Benefit Costs: Rating includes include data on health care premiums and long-term health care costs, workers' compensation costs per worker, and fringe benefits of all kinds as a share of worker costs.


Tax Climate: Rating includes data on corporate taxes, income and
sales and use taxes, property and unemployment insurance tax data
collected by the Tax Foundation.


Expected Fiscal Liability Gap: Rating includes the expected fiscal liability gap, we include data on unfunded liability per capita and percentage of GDP, average benefits, and bond rankings.


Global Reach: Rating includes include the export-related measures of per capita exported manufacturing goods and the growth of manufacturing exports. Also included is foreign-direct investment in a state, the level of adaptability of the state's exporters to changing demand, as well as the reach of foreign direct investment.


Sector Diversification: Includes use of the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index , which can be used to rank each state from the most diverse (1st) to the least diverse (50th).


Productivity and Innovation: Rating includes manufacturing productivity growth, industry R&D expenditures on a per capita basis, and the per capita number of patents issued annually.


The report then gives each state a grade from A to F on each of the nine factors, including pluses and minuses, and indicates 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 atributes.


(Article Continued Below)



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 averaged evenly across categories, producing the best to worst ranking, as shown in the table below:

Composite Scores of the Best States for Manufacturing 2020


Source: SCDigest Analysis from 2020 Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card Date

As can be seen, under this system, Utah comes out on top, edging Indiana, which is usually in the number 1 position, with roughly a B composite average. Following Utah and Indiana, the rest of the top 5 was North Carolina, Minnestota, and Wisconsin.

Hawaii was dead last, barely below Alaska, New Jersey, West Virginia and Maine, with roughly D and D- average scores among them.

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