Wisconsin manufacturing moves up to 6th in Ball State report

Improvement on liability gap, worker benefits drives gain

manufacturing activity

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:10 am

Wisconsin’s manufacturing and logistics sector received better grades for worker benefit costs and expected liability gap in the latest report from Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research, boosting the state’s average grade to sixth in the country.

manufacturing activity

The state’s grade point average improved from 2.44 on the 2017 version of the Manufacturing and Logistics Report Card to 2.59 on the 2018 version.

The report uses a variety of data points to rank states on categories including manufacturing industry health, logistics industry health, human capital, worker benefit costs, tax climate, expected liability gap, global reach, sector diversification and productivity and innovation. After ranking states one through 50 on each category, states are assigned a letter grade from A to F based on a normal distribution.

An “A” grade for expected liability gap, up from a “B” on last year’s report, helped drive Wisconsin’s improvement. The category looks at a state’s unfunded liabilities on a per capita basis and as a percentage of GDP. It also incorporates average benefits and bond rankings.

Wisconsin’s worker benefit costs grade also improved from a “C-” to a “C.” The category incorporates data on health care premiums, long-term health care costs, workers’ compensation costs per worker and fringe benefits as a share of all worker costs.

The 2018 report marked the second straight year Wisconsin’s overall grade average improved. It was the state’s best performance since a 2.66 average in 2014.

Indiana continued to have the best overall grade in the report, which is produced by Ball State in Muncie, Indiana and Conexus Indiana, a private sector-led initiative focused on strengthening the state’s advanced manufacturing and logistics sectors. The Hoosier state’s grade average did drop from 3.19 to 3.04.

North Carolina jumped two spots to come in second, followed by Utah, Missouri and Texas. Other Midwestern states rankings included Minnesota in eighth, Iowa in ninth, Nebraska in 11th, Ohio in 12th, Michigan in 14th, North Dakota in 18th, South Dakota in 21st, Kansas in 25th and Illinois in 27th.

Read more economic data reports at the BizTracker page.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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