Best Cities for Manufacturing Jobs

Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, manufacturing has shaped the United States and the world. Industrial manufacturing equipment including machine tools, fabricating equipment and other metalworking machines have allowed companies to transform their industries and products with speed, precision and efficiency. However, these transformations wouldn’t be possible without skilled workers, which is why we were curious to find out where the best cities in America are for manufacturing workers.

So, where is manufacturing thriving the most? After analyzing manufacturing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau, we were able to find the best cities for manufacturing jobs. To narrow down our list to the top 50, we analyzed four key factors across 236 cities including:

Total manufacturing jobs per 100,000
Year-over-year growth
Median income for manufacturing industry
Median housing cost

You can view the full findings below.


It’s interesting to note that smaller metro areas dominate the list. Excluding Portland and Boise, there aren’t any cities within the top 10 that have a metro area population over 700,000. Portland is the largest city within the top 10 on our list with a metro area population of over 2.2 million, followed by Boise with 756,000.

Perhaps the most important factor on our list is the total number of manufacturing jobs in each city. To analyze the number of manufacturing jobs, we looked at jobs per 100,000 people. As you can see in our ranking, Green Bay tops that category with more than 10,000 manufacturing jobs per 100,000 people.

In terms of industry growth, Clarksville, Tennessee ranks highest with more than 10% YoY growth from December 2017 to 2018. Reno and Cape Coral also rank high with 9.9% and 8.6%, respectively.

Along with industry growth, earnings are also an important factor to consider. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly earnings for the manufacturing industry is $27.21, or $54,420 per year, as of January 2019 data. As you can see from our list, earnings fluctuate greatly from city-to-city. For example, a manufacturing worker in San Jose could make an average of $76,010 per year, while someone in the same industry might make an average of just over $30,000 in Jackson, Mississippi. Of course, cost of living plays a huge factor in how much someone might earn per year, which is why we factored in housing affordability within our rankings as well.

Overall, it’s clear to see that manufacturing is growing in cities throughout the country. The industry has certainly evolved from the Industrial Revolution and it will be interesting to see how that evolution continues throughout the 21st century.



To determine the best cities for manufacturing jobs, we compared 236 metro areas - including the 150 most populous cities in the U.S. From there, we considered total number of manufacturing jobs per 100,000, manufacturing year-over-year employment growth from December 2017 to December 2018, median income for manufacturing workers as well as median housing cost in each city. Data for manufacturing jobs, year-over-year growth, median income and metropolitan statistical area (MSA) population was collected from the U.S. Census Bureau. Median housing cost data was collected from Zillow. Each factor was graded on a 100-point scale and then weighted to determine a final ranking.

We determined an overall weighted average based on the following:

Manufacturing Jobs: 50 points

(Total manufacturing jobs per 100,000)

YOY Growth: 25 points

(Year-over-year growth)

Median Income: 15 points

(Median income for manufacturing industry)

Housing Affordability: 10 points

(Median housing cost)