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Jun 5, 201811:46 AMInside Wisconsin

with Tom Still

Signs of ‘Rust Belt renaissance’ evident in Wisconsin, Upper Midwest

(page 2 of 2)

Authors Joel Kotkin and Michael Shires, writing in May for Forbes, noted the enduring value of manufacturing in states where it’s already rooted.

“Manufacturing contributions to the economy are far out of proportion to its shrinking share of employment,” they wrote, as measured by indirect jobs, economic output, wages, and exports. “Over the past eight years manufacturing has bounced back strongly from the crater the sector fell in during the Great Recession, gaining 1.1 million jobs.”

Wisconsin has the nation’s second-highest percentage of manufacturing workers, according to the Center for Manufacturing Research of the National Association of Manufacturers. In order, top states as reported in March 2017 were Indiana (16.8%), Wisconsin (16.1%), Michigan (13.8%), Iowa (13.3%), and Alabama (13.3%).

Panelists at the Entrepreneurs’ Conference will examine the issue from the perspective of younger companies. They are investor Dan Malven of 4490 Ventures, Brian Waller of the Technology Association of Iowa, and Kelly Armstrong of the Wisconsin Economic Development Association. Look for Malven to touch on investment winds that may be shifting toward the Midwest, Waller to discuss how tech is changing existing sectors while creating new opportunities, and Armstrong to discuss state initiatives.

It’s not all rosy, of course. Most states are battling an aging demographic, opioids that drag down many people, and economic prosperity is elusive in many rural areas. Still, it’s good to know the Rust Belt has moved from the “bust” status of the recession to becoming a potential “brain trust” for emerging companies.

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About This Blog

Tom Still is president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. He is the former associate editor of the Wisconsin State Journal.

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