Suhner Manufacturing

Chad Giles operates a controller in the Suhner Manufacturing plant off U.S. 27 south in Rome. Suhner has continued to grow since locating in Rome more than four decades ago

Rome economic developers got a nice pre-Christmas report when they learned that the local metro area is ranked among the top 20 markets in the nation for jobs in manufacturing.

The report for SmartAsset puts Rome at No. 15 — tied with the Jaynesville-Beloit, Wisconsin, metro area — among the more than 370 metro areas across the country where people work in the manufacturing sector.

Casey Luneva with SmartAsset said the analysis looked at six factors:

♦ the percentage of all workers in manufacturing,

♦ the percentage change in the number of people employed by manufacturing firms over four years,

♦ the percentage change in the number of people employed by manufacturing firms over one year,

♦ the percentage change in manufacturing workers’ average income over four years,

♦ the percentage change in manufacturing workers’ average income over one year and

♦ housing costs as a percentage of average income for manufacturing workers.

The Elkhart-Goshen, Indiana, metro area ranked first, followed by Greenville, North Carolina, and Elizabethtown-Fort Knox, Kentucky. The Athens-Clarke County metro area ranked No. 8 and was the only other Georgia metro area to crack the top 25.

The study found that 17.5% of the workforce in Rome and Floyd County County get a paycheck from a manufacturing firm. The number was down 3.2% from the previous year.

“It’s nice to see that something you’ve been working on for so long is paying off,” said Heather Seckman, a project manager in the Rome-Floyd County Economic Development Authority office.

The one-year income growth figure for Rome and Floyd County manufacturing employees was listed at 11.6%, the highest growth rate among the top 25 metro areas. Luneva said the data reflects changes from 2016 to 2017. Seckman attributes that to the increased wages that new and expanding industries have to officer in order to receive tax incentives. “Right now they have to pay a minimum of $13 an hour,” Seckman said.

Grand Island, Nebraska was second in income growth at 11.5% while Rockford, Illinois was third at 11.2 %

Rome also scored particularly well on housing costs as compared to a percentage of income, at 15.4% which ranked third among the top 25 metro areas in the report. Lima, Ohio was best in that category at 13.8% while Bay City, Michigan was second at 14.4%. The housing data in the report is based on information from 2018.

Rome Floyd Chamber President Jeanne Krueger said the report from SmartAsset would be a benefit for the promotion of additional job growth.

“There are great jobs from Pirelli to Suzuki to International Paper, Southeastern Mills and Ball Packaging, all of those are excellent jobs in manufacturing,” Krueger said.

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