Washington’s report card from Ball State on manufacturing: top marks in human capital, sector innovation, productivity

Ball State University has released its 2016 Manufacturing & Logistics Report Card for the United States. The report is prepared for Conexus Indiana, described as 

…a private sector-led initiative focused on the advanced manufacturing and logistics sectors—two industries that combined employ more than one of every five Hoosiers. 

Washington gets mixed grades, posting strong marks in human capital, sector diversification, and productivity and innovation. The lone F comes in worker benefit costs. Tax climate gets a C. The methodology is available at the report link

Washington  Conexus Mfg Report Card

Seattle Times business columnist Jon Talton writes of the report.

Washington’s overall manufacturing industry health was B-minus this year vs. a C-plus last year. Alaska got an F; Oregon was B-plus, and Idaho B-minus.

The A students overall were Indiana, Illinois, Kansas and South Carolina. To be fair, comparing high-end Washington to otherwise bleeding Kansas is like comparing apples to burning tires. But we should always note the benchmarks.

Talton goes on to mention a recent state report.

The state Legislature’s Joint Committee on the Economic Resilience of Maritime and Manufacturing in Washington has been studying these issues for two years. Its final report is now out — you can read it here.

In addition to calling for streamlined permitting, better connect between training and job needs, and improving freight movement, the report urges tighter cooperation between local and state jurisdictions. The goal is to produce a strategic plan for the next five years.

Our roadmap to shared prosperity similarly emphasizes regulatory streamlining, job training and education, and freight mobility. The Ball State – Conexus report and the Legislature’s Joint Committee report both make worthwhile contributions to our understanding of the health of the some of the state’s core industrial sectors, reinforcing the information we provide in the Opportunity Scorecard.