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Minnesota Manufacturers Expect Lingering Pandemic Conditions for 2021


February 18, 2021

St. Paul – Respondents to an annual Manufacturing Business Conditions Survey conducted by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis say they expect mostly unchanged or improved conditions in 2021.

In looking back on 2020, Minnesota manufacturers described contracting conditions. Sixty percent of respondents indicated a decline in number of orders and 57% experienced a drop in profits.

While they expect lingering pandemic conditions in 2021, more than half of respondents indicated they expect to go back to normal operations in more than six months. At the same time, almost 13% expect their businesses will not go back to normal.

“Minnesota manufacturers stepped up to help their communities when the COVID-19 pandemic hit – in fact, many shifted their production to supporting health care workers,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “Manufacturing is a cornerstone of our economy, offering good-paying, family-sustaining jobs, and we are here to support you as our economy recovers from the impacts of COVID-19.”

Among the findings of the survey:

• 88% expect employment to remain the same or go up in 2021

• 82% expect production levels to remain the same or go up in 2021

• 80% expect their number of orders to remain the same or go up in 2021

This year’s survey included a question about the impacts of COVID-19 on Minnesota manufacturers. The pandemic had a particularly negative effect on the supply chain, revenues and employee productivity.

• 77% indicated delays in their supply chains

• 72% experienced a decline in revenue

• 46% indicated a drop in employee productivity

• 56% indicated no changes in manufacturing capacity

Minnesota has nearly 324,000 jobs in manufacturing, with a total payroll of $22.1 billion. When you factor in jobs that are supported indirectly by manufacturing – such as sales, shipping and professional services – that impact rises to over one million jobs. Statewide, manufacturing accounts for 13% of all private-sector jobs. But in some counties across the state, it accounts for a much greater share of the jobs.

For the past several years, many Minnesota manufacturers have reported difficulty in hiring for a variety of roles. As Minnesota recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and hiring ramps up, DEED encourages job seekers to consider career paths in manufacturing – and offers resources to help at

DEED is the state's principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and its services, visit the DEED website or follow us on Twitter.


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