Residents of a rural town facing the closure of a Tyson Foods plant may be feeling anxious, but they may take solace in the fact that the rest of North America’s manufacturing industry is booming. As the town grapples with how to cope with the loss of Tyson, the manufacturing industry at large is experiencing a period of robust growth.
Manufacturing output is up in most North American countries, including the US, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s December 2018 manufacturing survey. In terms of employment, 71,000 jobs were added in the US in February 2019, the 25th consecutive monthly increase.
At the same time, many rural communities across the US are in need of a boost. According to the US Department of Agriculture, the majority of rural counties in the US have a poverty rate that is higher than the national average, indicating a lack of economic opportunity. In the case of the town facing the plant closure, replacing the jobs at the Tyson Foods plant will be a top priority.
The good news is that there are ample opportunities in the manufacturing sector. Companies across North America are investing heavily in robotic automation which cuts production costs, increases product quality and opens up new sources of employment. Emerging technologies like additive manufacturing are also enabling companies to create custom and complex products on-demand in short runs. And the internet of things is connecting machines and devices over networks, bringing digital connectivity to industrial operations.
Overall, the manufacturing sector offers plenty of potential for the rural town facing the Tyson Foods plant closure. It’s important that the town looks beyond the plant closure and identifies the new and emerging opportunities for growth and development that the manufacturing sector can offer.