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A Summary of the 2019 Florida Make More Manufacturing Summit

The slogan “Made in America” has always meant jobs for Americans. Manufacturing is the transformation of raw materials into new products and it ranges from small, home-based businesses that make products by hand to the largest, most technologically sophisticated factories and plants. The Manufacturing sector is made up of 21 subsectors which provide more than 12.5 million high-paying jobs. Manufacturing jobs pay an average of 12 percent more than other jobs. In 2017, persons employed in U.S. Manufacturing jobs earned an average of $84,832 (includes benefits) annually.

The importance of Manufacturing to the U.S. economy cannot be overstated. In 2018, Manufacturing added $2.33 trillion to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), representing 11.6 percent of U.S. economic output. Every $1 spent in Manufacturing adds $1.89 in business growth in other supporting sectors. High labor costs, however, threaten the U.S.’s leadership position, giving low labor cost countries like China a competitive advantage. 

After years of reduced output and a diminishing percentage of the labor force, the last few years have seen renewed U.S. Manufacturing growth. According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the catalysts for this revival include factors such as the strengthening economy, workforce quality, tax policies, the regulatory environment, and transportation and energy costs. 

A recent survey of FloridaMakes clients conducted by the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) identified the most important strategic challenges facing Florida manufacturers. The recruitment and retention of a well-trained workforce, process improvements and lower production costs, opportunities to grow the Manufacturing sector, and product innovation and development were the most frequently-identified challenges. 

On May 31, 2019, Associated Industries of Florida, CareerSource Florida, Inc., the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Manufacturing & Logistics Council, and FloridaMakes hosted the second annual “Make More Manufacturing Summit” in Orlando, Florida. The Summit brought together thought leaders from all segments of Florida’s Manufacturing industry to discuss these challenges and offer solutions that will strengthen and advance Florida’s economy by improving the competitiveness, productivity, and technological performance of its Manufacturing sector. 

The Summit included discussions of: 

The current status and future of Manufacturing in Florida; 

Strategies to develop Manufacturing talent and create a pipeline to close the skills gap; 

The impacts of technology on Manufacturing; 

Strategies to grow Florida’s Manufacturing sector; 

Strategies to improve Florida’s business climate; and 

Strategies to make Florida’s economy more competitive by increasing Manufacturing productivity. 


The Agenda for the Summit is attached as Appendix A. Summit discussions are summarized in this Special Report.

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