A new report estimates manufacturing companies pumped $22.5 billion into the local economy last year, prompting industry leaders to stress the importance of addressing a growing skills gap with workforce development programs.
Perhaps San Antonio’s third most powerful economic engine, the manufacturing industry’s workforce expanded less than 8 percent from 45,463 employees in 1991 to 51,025 last year, according to the report’s authors, Trinity University professors Richard Butler and Mary Stefl. During the past two decades, however, the industry’s economic effect ballooned more than 200 percent while total wages grew 122 percent.
“The total number of employees over the past 20-year period in this industry has not increased all that much. But economic impact has nearly tripled over that time,” Stefl said before she and Butler presented their findings to the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and San Antonio Manufacturers Association, or SAMA, at a luncheon Tuesday.
“This is a very efficient industry. The salaries and wages are having a great deal of impact on the San Antonio community,” Stefl said.
According to the most recent studies available, the manufacturing industry’s economic effect trails that of the military in San Antonio, estimated at $27.7 billion last year, and the health care and biosciences industry’s $24.5 billion effect in 2009. The financial services and hospitality industries came in fourth and fifth with economic effects of $20.5 billion in 2004 and $12.2 billion in 2011, respectively.