Manufacturing Grows in Utah

In the past five years, Cincinnati-based Proctor and Gamble has closed 12 factories in the U.S. and five more in foreign locations to improve efficiency and lower costs. Meanwhile, P&G’s Box Elder County manufacturing plant is expanding to take on the load of the recently closed locations.

The company will invest $500 million for the expansion of its manufacturing facility in Utah, creating 200 new jobs.

“This expansion speaks to the strength of the manufacturing industry here in Utah,” says EDCUtah Chief Marketing Officer Michael Flynn.

Utah isn’t generally thought of as a manufacturing state, but manufacturing plays an enormous role in the state’s economy. According to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau, Utah manufacturing output grew from less than $10 billion in 2000 to $17.47 billion in 2014. Utah manufacturers accounted for 12.4 percent of the state’s output in 2014 and in 2015 the state’s 3,051 manufacturers employed 125,300 workers in 2015, or nearly 10 percent of the state’s workforce. Add distribution to the mix and Utah stands out as one of the top states in the nation for manufacturing and distribution employment with an employee base of more than 190,000 people.

Utah manufacturing is also heavily connected to exporting. In 2015, $12.65 billion in Utah manufactured goods were exported to foreign countries. Because manufacturing is so important to the state’s economy, EDCUtah will continue to position Utah as a strategic location for manufacturing operations.

The organization recently published a new Manufacturing and Distribution Profile, which is a huge leap forward, according to Flynn. “We’ve always wanted this kind of data in one place, and to have it in a format that is so engaging and visually appealing is a huge help. Manufacturing in some capacity spans most of our cluster industries, so it’s important that we be able to speak intelligently about how well we compete.”

What’s more, this past summer EDCUtah targeted food manufacturing companies attending the International Baking Industry Exposition in Las Vegas. More than 23,000 baking professionals were on hand for the event, offering the Utah booth partners plentiful opportunities to promote manufacturing and food processing in Utah.

“Utah is very well positioned to be a food production hub going forward. Our proximity to California is so beneficial. Manufacturers in Utah can be close to those huge markets on the West Coast without having to pay for the higher costs in that economy,” says Flynn. “Future increases to minimum wage laws, utility costs and regulation have a great number of California-based manufacturers looking at automation or production facilities outside of the state and EDCUtah will continue to position Utah as the best environment for relocation or expansion.”

Perhaps as a validation of Utah’s growing manufacturing footprint, the publication SmartAsset recently ranked the Ogden-Clearfield metro area number nine among the top 10 “Best Places to Work in Manufacturing.” The publication noted U.S. Census Bureau data from the 2009-2014 period, which said the number of manufacturing jobs in the Ogden metro area grew 48 percent while average incomes for manufacturing workers grew 33 percent.

One of the country’s largest automotive safety equipment manufacturers, Autoliv, is headquartered in Ogden. The company also ranks as one of the state’s largest manufacturing employers. Other large manufacturing employers in the state include L-3 Communications and Orbital ATK.

“We’ve always known we have the right ingredients to be a manufacturing hub here in Utah, with affordable costs, an ideal geographic location and a world-class labor force,” says Flynn, “and now we’re seeing the recognition from other groups, like SmartAsset, as well.”