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Editorial: Manufacturing benefits rural Minnesota

The United States Department of Agriculture last week released data on the importance of manufacturing in rural communities.

In 2013, manufacturing accounted for nearly 2.5 million rural jobs nationwide. In Minnesota, the USDA has invested almost $26 million into rural manufacturers.

According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the state has a diverse mix of the industries, but the state’s top manufacturing industry is for computer and electronics. The second-largest sector is the food industry. About 44,700 people have jobs in this industry in Minnesota.

Some other facts about manufacturing are the following:

• Manufacturing accounted for nearly $18 billion in wages in Minnesota in 2012.

• Manufacturing pays an average wage of about $59,000, compared to the average wage of about $50,000 for all industries.

• Canada was Minnesota’s top market for manufactured exports in 2012.

• The state’s manufacturing exports totaled $18.7 million in 2012.

Manufacturing is one of the pillars of the state’s economy. Let’s do what we can to support it.