Wisconsin is divided into seven regions that comprise dozens of industries. The top industry is manufacturing, and businesses in this sector "employed more than 400,000 workers, carried payrolls of more than $21 billion, and spent more than $91 billion on materials and more than $4 billion on capital expenditures in 2011" according to The Wisconsin Economic Future Study published in June 2013.
Looking ahead, the state has launched The Future Wisconsin Project, a partnership with many institutions including the University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Technical College, the Wisconsin Association of Independent College and Universities, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and the Department of Workforce.
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Together, they hope to build a stronger Wisconsin and tackle head-on the challenges that lie ahead for their state's economy. Currently, there are five top industries in Wisconsin that are driving the region. Here they are:
1. Fruit and vegetable preserving and specialty:
This industry thrives statewide, with makers concentrated in East Central, Southeast and West Central. According to FaB Wisconsin
, the state’s food and beverage industry cluster network, "fertile soil, inviting harbors, and a young, enterprising citizenry" have helped this division of Wisconsin's economy thrive.
2. Dairy product manufacturing:
It's no secret that Wisconsinites like their cheese — the state's beloved Green Bay Packers NFL team are supported during home games with large cheese hats. There's even a Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association
that was established in 1891.
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3. Leather and allied product manufacturing:
With a positive increase of 3 percent from 2008 to 2011, leather manufacturing, including footwear manufacturing, comes in at number three. The leather industry helped put Wisconsin's largest city, Milwaukee, on the map, and now dozens of leather manufacturers in the state continue this long-held tradition.
4. Wood product manufacturing:
This industry is made up of plywood, engineered wood product, and other wood manufacturing. Generations of families have passed down an interest in this business. According to Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources, "forest products in Wisconsin contribute significantly to the economy, accounting for 12 percent of the value of all shipments, as well as 14 percent of jobs and 13 percent of wages in the manufacturing sector."
5. Paper manufacturing: According to Forward Wisconsin
, an informational website maintained by the Wisconsin Economic Development Institute, Wisconsin is the number one state in papermaking and employs more than 52,000 people. In 2010, the industry compensated employees $2.4 billion. Jobs in paper manufacturing pay 60 percent above the state average.
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