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Manufacturing remains core of local workforce

October 25, 2012
By Josh Moniz - Staff Writer , The Journal

NEW ULM - Manufacturing jobs remain an important core of New Ulm's workforce and competitive wages, according to the New Ulm Economic Development Corporation (NUEDC).

Renewed attention on the manufacturing field this week comes with the observance of Minnesota Manufacturing Week, which runs from Oct. 22 to Oct. 28.

In an effort to emphasize manufacturing's role in Minnesota, NUEDC and the New Ulm Chamber of Commerce scheduled tours of New Ulm Precision Tools, Parker Hannifin and Windings Inc. For information on the tours, contact the Chamber.

NUEDC Coordinator Brian Tohal said manufacturing jobs are the largest sector by employment numbers and by wages. Manufacturing industries have formed an important core to New Ulm jobs.

"New Ulm has become known throughout the state as a manufacturing town because of the how many we have here," said Tohal.

He said it's not completely clear why this trend developed in New Ulm, but he suggested that it was due to NUEDC and its predecessor organization being around since the 1950s, giving the town plenty of opportunity to attract big industries while they're still smaller scale.

In recent years, the manufacturing sector has remained large nationwide, but it has slipped from its dominance in the 1940s and 1950s. It now only representing 15 percent of the United States gross domestic product. Tohal said manufacturing will alway remain an important job source in local economies and that the NUEDC is always looking to obtain more manufacturing jobs. But, he said the current jobs trends is moving towards IT and computer technology fields. He did note that even manufacturing is getting on the trends, moving from assembly line workers to more workers running robotic machines from a computer.

Looking into the future, Tohal said a few manufacturing entities are taking a serious look at relocating to New Ulm. However, he said he was unable to provide names because negotiations were ongoing.



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