Importance of manufacturing in Rutherford County

Nov. 18, 2012 @ 05:34 AM

Some time ago, the Rutherford County Economic Development Commission highlighted what it deemed as important to the further growth in Rutherford County.

The big topic was the importance of manufacturing.

And, we could not agree more.

We have several reasons for thinking so, as well.

The manufacturing sector is the basic building block for growing the local economy. As products manufactured by local plants are sold outside the area new money flows back into the community creating wealth. This money is spent in the form of wages paid to manufacturing workers who in turn purchase goods and services from local businesses.

Some of the new money is also invested in plant improvements and new machinery which strengthens the local tax base reducing the burden on residential property.

Economists have found that for every one manufacturing job created anywhere from 1.5 to three or more jobs are created in the retail and service sectors. No other sector of the economy has a multiplier effect as strong as that of the manufacturing sector.

In addition, those manufacturing jobs tend to be full-time and generally pay higher wages and offer more benefits than retail and service jobs.

Then there is the environmental aspect.

Today's manufacturing plants are a far cry from the mills where our fathers and grandfathers worked. Advances in technology, production processes and environmental controls have made working in manufacturing plants safer, healthier and less physically demanding than in the past.

On a broader perspective a robust manufacturing sector is strategically important for national security. The more we can produce for ourselves the less reliant we will be on foreign sources for essential goods and products.

Finally, there is the matter of pride. It just feels good to see inscribed on an item we purchased "Made in the USA." It would feel even better if the inscription read "Made in Rutherford County, USA."

Looking at all of that, we want to encourage young people in Rutherford County to consider manufacturing as a career and, with that, we also urge our county schools and Isothermal Community College to offer training in the skill sets required for jobs in that field.

By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board


The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett, Dr. Shermaine Surratt and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark