The Best Cities to Find a Manufacturing Job

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A lot of people consider manufacturing to be an industry in decline, but many great manufacturing jobs are still available. While manufacturing did lose jobs in the 1990s and the great recession, the industry actually added 170,000 jobs in 2017. Not to mention, a handful of major cities, like Minneapolis, Chicago, and San Francisco have all experienced significant job growth in this industry.

What’s more? The types of jobs being advertised are changing. Now, instead of traditional manufacturing positions, like Factory Worker or Assembly Line Worker, employers are hiring for New Collar roles, like Machinist and Programmer, which usually pay more. It’s a signal that new jobs are being created, and they’re jobs that offer higher wages and better advancement opportunities.

We turned to ZipRecruiter data from the past 30 days to determine where in the U.S. the best manufacturing opportunities are located. Here are the 10 MSAs (metropolitan statistical areas) with the highest opportunity indexes:

Top 10 Job Markets for Manufacturing     

1. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota-Wisconsin

Opportunity Index: 0.50

This MSA is made up of 19 counties in Minnesota and 2 in Wisconsin. It’s anchored by the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and has a population of nearly 4 million people. In the past 30 days, the top posted manufacturing jobs were Small Engine Mechanic, CNC Programmer, Machinist, CNC Machinist, and Sheet Metal Operator. A lot of these top jobs are new collar positions and pay around $40,000 per year or more.

2. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Opportunity Index: 0.46

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has a long history as a manufacturing hub, and it’s still one of the best places in the country to find a job in the industry. Job seekers can expect to find the best opportunities in product manufacturing, industrial maintenance, garments, electronics, machining, and food manufacturing.

3. Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, Oregon-Washington

Opportunity Index: 0.33

This MSA includes counties in Oregon and Washington, plus major cities like Portland, Vancouver, Hillsboro, Gladstone, and Beaverton. Employers using ZipRecruiter have posted the most openings for Controls Engineer, Design Technician, CNC Machinist, CNC Programmer, and Mechanical Design Engineer jobs. 

4. Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, Connecticut

Opportunity Index: 0.23

The city of Hartford is the capital of Connecticut and one of the oldest cities in the U.S. The population of the larger metro area is around 1.2M people, and the top manufacturing jobs are in product manufacturing. The most commonly listed job titles were Supplier Quality Engineer and Mechanical Engineer.

5. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Massachusetts-New Hampshire

Opportunity Index: 0.23

More commonly known for its universities, it may surprise some to learn that the Boston MSA is one of the top places for manufacturing jobs. Job seekers can find opportunities in Boston, Brighton, Hull, Cambridge, Dedham, and Somerville. The top manufacturing industries over the past 30 days were metal fabrication, electronics, food manufacturing, woodworking, and product manufacturing.  

6. Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, Illinois-Indiana-Wisconsin

Opportunity Index: 0.22

With a population of 9.9M people, the greater Chicago area is the largest metropolitan area in the midwest. Employers posted jobs located in the city of Chicago, as well as in nearby Evanston and Skokie. The top listed job titles in the past 30 days were PLC Controls Engineer, Medical Device Engineer, Electronics Engineer, Electrical Engineer, and Electrical Designer Drafter.  

7. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington

Opportunity Index: 0.21

A buzzing metropolis close to the mountains and the ocean, it’s easy to see why Seattle is a popular place to live. It’s also a great city to find a job in manufacturing. Employers posted jobs in industrial maintenance, woodworking, metal fabrication, garments, electronics, and product manufacturing. In addition to Seattle, job seekers can find good opportunities in Manchester, Tukwila, Bothell, and Redmond.  

8. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, California

Opportunity Index: 0.21

San Francisco is known as the tech capital of the world. But in a time when the line between manufacturing and technology is increasingly blurred, it’s also a great place for new collar manufacturing jobs. Product manufacturing, garments, electronics, and food manufacturing employers advertised the most jobs in the past 30 days.

9. Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, Ohio

Opportunity Index: 0.19

Cleveland, Ohio is a city with deep manufacturing roots. Today, job seekers will find available job titles like: Industrial Maintenance Electrician, Service Technician, Tool Die Maker, CNC Machinist, and Metallurgist.

10. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-Virginia-Maryland-West Virginia

Opportunity Index: 0.19

This MSA is one of the largest in the country, with a population of 6.1M people. It’s centered on Washington D.C., and includes cities like Arlington, VA, Alexandria, VA, Bethesda, MD, and Frederick, MD. The top job titles posted in the past 30 days include: Cutter Operator, Assembly Line Worker, and Process Improvement Consultant.

Looking at our list, it’s clear that the best opportunities in manufacturing are concentrated in major U.S. cities scattered across the country. Many of these top cities, like Pittsburgh and Cleveland, have deep manufacturing roots, so it seems fitting that they offer some of the best opportunities. Our data also shows that the types of jobs being advertised has radically changed. Today, employers are looking for candidates to fill their new collar manufacturing jobs, and not the traditional roles of decades past. Anyone looking for a position in the manufacturing industry should start their search with our list.


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Author: Team ZipRecruiter

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