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Business Observer Friday, Jun. 22, 2018 4 months ago

Manufacturing forecast for Sunshine State: gloomy

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National study shines poorly on manufacturing, logistics, in the state.

At least we’re not New York or New Mexico.

That’s a gallows humor approach to a new national study from the Ball State Center for Business and Economic Research and Conexus Indiana on manufacturing and logistics. The Sunshine State scored a D in manufacturing industry health, one of nine states to barely pass. New York and New Mexico — along with Nevada, Alaska and Hawaii — were given an F grade. Florida did a little bit better in logistics, earning a C.

The scores aren’t just academic, the survey points out. The report card “shows how each state ranks among its peers in several categories that are of particular interest to site selection experts for the manufacturing and logistics industries,” according to a statement. “Manufacturing firms are not necessarily reliant on local demand for goods and are therefore footloose. Their location depends more on local factors such as the quality and availability of the labor force, transportation infrastructure, non-wage labor costs, access to innovative technologies and the cost of doing business.

Florida isn’t a total failure. The state gets an easy A in tax climate, and a B in expected liability gap, which ranks how a state can handle bond and pension liabilities. Florida also scored a B in manufacturing diversification — it doesn’t make a lot of stuff, but the stuff it makes has variety.

The manufacturing industry, in total, is 3.1% of Florida’s economy, according to the report. In receiving a D grade, the report looked at share of total income earned by manufacturing employees in each state; wage premium paid to manufacturing workers relative to the other states’ employees; and share of manufacturing employment per capita.

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