(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) If you're looking for a job in manufacturing, you don't have to look too far. Turns out, St. Joseph is the mecca of manufacturing.
According to a new list SmartAsset, St. Joseph ranks number one in "Best Places to Work in Manufacturing- 2020 Edition," in the country. Out of 378 metro areas across the U.S., St. Joseph comes out on top.
“The industry that you see here today is really a legacy,” said R. Patt Lilly, President of the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce.
When SmartAsset released it's 2020 edition of the manufacturing study this December, the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce wasn't surprised to see St. Joseph sitting right on top.
“There’s no doubt that other places around the country have seen a diminishment in manufacturing, but the truth is in St. Joseph we’ve actually seen an increase,” said Lilly.
Lilly said the ranking is a large testament to the city's strong workforce, "We have a very skilled workforce in St. Joseph and certainly that’s allowed us to not only to let our local companies grow, but to attract new companies.”
St. Joseph is home to some big manufacturing companies, including Altec Industries.
The manufacturer' St. Joseph location is the company's largest manufacturing division along with its most extensive and diverse equipment production facility and Altec said business is good.
“We got a brand new building. We’re going to fill it up. Our customer demand is wonderful right now. We’re trying to meet that customer demand so we’re trying to grow pretty quickly, but the other manufacturers in town have indicated the same that it’s strong out there in the economy and St. Joseph is a great place to work,” said Colby Edwards, Regional Vice President of Operations for Altec Industries.
SmartAsset's manufacturing study pins cities against each other based on unemployment rate, job growth and income growth rates.
According to the study, 24.7% of St. Joseph's workforce is in the manufacturing sector and our unemployment rate is low. As of October 2020, the city's unemployment rate was 3.1%.
Lilly said the city's goal now is to focus on keeping and recruiting talent.
“The challenge for us as a community is that many of our individuals that have been in manufacturing are beginning to retire,” said Lilly.
St. Joseph's soon-to-be retirees explains the push to get local kids trained for these manufacturing jobs from training programs like Hillyard Technical Center.
But the city is also looking beyond the fence, hoping to grab some skilled manufacturers outside of the Show Me State.
“What our hope is is that we attract them here because they are interested in a job, but we keep them here because they like the city,” said Lilly.
In addition to be ranked first in "Best Places to Work in Manufacturing," St. Joseph also ranks as the third largest exporter in Missouri- behind Kansas City and St. Louis.