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From motor vehicle parts to plastic products to chemicals and electronic instruments, the United States spreads its top manufacturing industries far and wide.

A quick glance will tell you that the West Coast owns electronics, food processing is big in the Great Plains, a good chunk of transportation manufacturing occurs in the Midwest and South, and the East Coast is sprinkled with healthcare-related operations, plastic products and electronics. However, there are a few surprises to discover. Read on.

Who knew that both Hawaii and New York are known for bakeries and tortillas? Or in Vermont, that semiconductor and electronic component operations employ more people than dairy product operations?

Other manufacturing realities might not surprise you. Alaska leads seafood product preparation and packaging? Hello, Alaskan King Crab Legs. California leads semiconductor and electronic component manufacturing? We see you, Silicon Valley. Michigan’s pumping out the most motor vehicle parts? Rev your engines, Motor City.

There were 16 states where animal slaughtering and processing appeared in the top three manufacturing categories, 15 states where electronic instruments were in the top three manufacturing categories, and 14 states where plastic products were in the top three manufacturing categories. 

Manufacturing plays a vital role in supporting jobs in a core group of states in the upper Midwest and South. The top 5 states ranked by manufacturing’s share of total state employment are: Indiana 17%, Wisconsin 16%, Iowa 14%, Michigan 14%, and Alabama 13%.

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