Is Manufacturing Dead? Not in Texas.

The demise of manufacturing has been great exaggerated, espcially in Texas, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

A new report from the State Comptroller's Office shows smokestacks have given way to computer-assisted design, but manufacturing of physical products is thriving in Texas, with about 845,000 Texans directly employed in manufacturing today.

Comptroller Glenn Hegar says manufacturing employment is down 19% in Texas from 1997, but that is due more to technical advances than the flight of jobs to other countries which has been such a popular stump phrase for politicians of both parties.

And manufacturing has also evolved from the routine, relatively low-skilled redundant assembly line work of the 1950s.  The report shows advanced technologies have made today's shop floor as high tech as a Silicon Valley start up.

“Texas has a thriving manufacturing economy,” Hegar says. “Our state’s resources have made it a natural leader in petrochemicals, but there’s a lot more going on. Our research institutions are fostering high-tech manufacturing, and our business-friendly environment and skilled labor force have helped create new jobs in automotive manufacturing and other cutting-edge industries.”

Among the products manufactured in Texas today range from high tech equipment to aerospace to basic materials, to petrochemical products.  Of course, Texas has a thriving automotive manufacturing economy, largely centered on Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Texas and its San Antonio plant and its suppliers.

In fact, in that same 21 years which has seen the employment in factories in Texas fall by 19%, manufacturing output in the state is up by nearly 94%, far stronger growth than the nation as a whole. 

And the average pay in many manufacturing sectors is higher than the average pay for lawyers, college professors, and accountants, averaging well into the six figures in fields like oil and gas, computers and electronic products, and chemical product manufacturing.

Not surprisingly, computers and tech equipment manufacturing has seen the strongest increase of any sector in the last 21 years, with an increase in production of 585%, but output of more traditional sectors has also shown large gains in the past two decades, with output of motor vehicles up 352%, machinery up 123%, and primary metals manufacturing up 85%.


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