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Manufacturing is Key to Stephenson County’s Economy

Manufacturing is Key to Stephenson County’s Economy
January 31, 2024 Billy George

A key pillar in Illinois’ economic base is manufacturing. The manufacturing industry has a variety of subsectors with a very diverse employment base and is the state’s largest industry when ranked by contribution to GDP (gross domestic product). The total economic impact of manufacturing in Illinois is estimated to be between $580 and $611 billion annually. This figure reflects the dollar value representing all final goods and services produced statewide that can be attributed (directly or indirectly) to manufacturing. This level of economic activity corresponds to 1.6 and 1.7 million jobs and $142-150 billion in labor income for Illinois residents.

The five subsectors of manufacturing that derive most activity are food and agriculture manufacturing, metals fabrication manufacturing, heavy equipment manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and transportation equipment manufacturing. We see many of these subsectors represented locally in numerous Stephenson County based employers, such as Adkins Energy, Anchor Harvey, Berner Food & Beverage, CoreFX Ingredients, Danfoss, Inertia, In-Grown Farms, Modern Plating, Pearl Valley Farms, Proto-Cutter, Snak King, Star Forge, Titan Tire, and Tri-Star Metals.*

How does this translate locally?

In 2022, 35 percent of Stephenson County economy was supported directly or indirectly by manufacturing, totaling $2.8 billion in total annual economic output and $317.1 million in salaries and benefits. There are 5,865 jobs directly or indirectly involved in the manufacturing industry in the county. The job multiplier for Stephenson County is 1.8, meaning for every 10 jobs supported directly by the manufacturing industry, another eight jobs are created elsewhere in the county. The average annual salary across all manufacturing jobs in the county is $71,764. The top three manufacturing subsectors are (1) cheese manufacturing, (2) soybean and other oilseed processing, (3) animal, except poultry, slaughtering.

Manufacturing remains the core of Stephenson County’s economy. Because of its magnitude, we are pleased to have the President of the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC), David Boulay, PHD, give the keynote presentation at the Partnership’s 2024 Annual Dinner. The event will be Thursday, February 22 at the Masonic Event Center, starting at 5 pm. For more information and to register for the event, click here.

Data source: Illinois Manufacturers’ Association: The Economic Impact of Manufacturing on Illinois, 2022.

*Manufacturers listed are Greater Freeport Partnership members. The list is not comprehensive of all local manufacturers.

Andrea Schultz Winter is the Executive Director for the Greater Freeport Partnership. She can be reached at or 815-233-1354.