U.S. Manufacturing Construction Highest Ever
Randy Wolken, President & CEO

Construction spending related to manufacturing reached $108 billion in 2022. According to Census Bureau data, this was the highest annual total on record. In fact, it was more than was spent to build schools, healthcare centers, or office buildings. Let that sink in for just a minute. I have been doing this work for over two decades and never thought I would say this. When manufacturers were leaving the U.S. for cheaper costs, I thought this would severely hurt actual wealth creation, economic growth, and communities throughout our country. And it most certainly did. However, pandemic impacts and severe threats to our national and economic security have finally brought our nation to its senses.

New factories are being built everywhere – in urban cores, rural fields, desert flats, and surf towns. This growth is impacted by high-tech fields such as electric-vehicle batteries and semiconductors, both national priorities and backed by billions of dollars in government incentives. We have seen this impact in Central New York with the announcement by Micron, which is the largest private sector investment commitment ever, topping $100 billion in manufacturing construction. However, these industries are not alone. Many other companies that once relied exclusively on lower-cost countries to manufacture eyeglasses, bicycles, and bodybuilding supplements have found convincing reasons to make these products in the U.S. again. This is all excellent news for closing the income gap and giving the next generation hope for good paying jobs that liven all elements of our community. I fully expect this to continue for many, many years to come.

The world has changed dramatically in the last decade. High-tech manufacturing is here to stay, and the U.S. remains the best place to make things anywhere in the world. A convergence of factors has made this true. The next question is, are we ready for it? If we are honest with ourselves, we have a lot of work to do. Here in New York, we need to readjust our thinking about how we will encourage this generational transformation upon us. We need to capture what it means to be in a growth state again.

There was a time when New York State was the heart of the Industrial Revolution in the U.S. I believe we can once again be a place for high-tech investment and growth. However, this requires us to scale our growth in two critical areas – skilled labor and abundant, reliable, and affordable energy. High-tech manufacturing involves an abundance of both of these vital resources. Therefore, we must commit to these areas to be successful.

MACNY is committed to informing and working with communities, elected officials, and companies in preparing for this exciting future. We have numerous approaches we are working on to assist in our transformation. I am always interested in your thoughts and insights as you contemplate our future. You can reach me at [email protected].

Like in the past, together, we are stronger and more capable together. Over the last 110 years, MACNY has assisted and guided the development of the manufacturing future. In my humble opinion, our future has never been brighter!