As we finish up our Global Manufacturing Series, we shift our sights back to the US. Over the next few weeks, we want to look at some of the top manufacturing states and their contributions to their GDP. We’ll be examining the industries and trends that make up their economies thrive.

Starting with Wisconsin, where manufacturing, healthcare, and agriculture are the key sectors driving their overall economy. However, we’re going to focus on the sub sectors that drive the Wisconsin manufacturing landscape.

America’s Dairyland

Wisconsin is sometimes affectionately called “America’s Dairyland” or “The Cheese State,” but with good reason. The sector contributes around 43.4 billion US dollars annually to the state economy. This is four times more than citrus fruits produce for Florida. Specifically, Wisconsin specializes in cheese with more than 90% of all dairy destined to create this product.

Yes, Wisconsin takes dairy seriously and has for a very long time. In 1890, they created the first dairy school in the US. Then, in 1920, they were the first state to create regulations and laws for dairy products and began classifying milk for quality and standards. By 1910 it overthrew New York as the biggest dairy producing state. Today, Wisconsin is the only U.S. state that requires that a licensed cheesemaker supervise commercial cheese production.

Paper Producing Jobs

Last year alone, Wisconsin produced around 5.3 million tons of paper. It currently generates around 5 billion US dollars each year, and it is the biggest employer in all of Wisconsin. About 1 in every 12 US paper workers is employed in the state of Wisconsin. One important factor to consider is that the paper sector is linked to many other associated industries. When you consider the many allied jobs within the state, the paper sector directly impacts about 1 in every 11 Wisconsin jobs.

Booming Technology

When you talk about Wisconsin IT, it is all about Madison, where technology is taking off. In recent years, the industry has grown at a 31% rate. In 2016, Madison saw a 145% increase in startup funding which fuels innovation and technology. While the technology in the region is not directly related to manufacturing, advances in technology generally lead to flourishing manufacturing scenes.

Today, Madison is one of the most vibrant IT hubs in the US. It serves both as a cluster for entrepreneur technology and a new region for enterprises to establish locations. The Madison tech sector specializes in computer systems design, software publishing, game development and health care information technology. What fuels this rapid development? Efficient transportation systems and a diverse and well-educated workforce certainly play a major role. However, the University of Wisconsin-Madison is the most pivotal player encouraging critical research and partnerships.

Overall, Wisconsin is doing well. When you consider general quality of life–education, health care, income, employment–the Human Development Indicator (HDI) also places Wisconsin in the top 20 twenty.

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