Manufacturing accounts for 10 percent of North Dakota's Gross Domestic Product. While the rest of the country has experienced a manufacturing retraction since 2000, North Dakota has enjoyed an expansion. Strong market growth, both domestically and internationally, have contributed to a healthy manufacturing economy.
Manufacturing and technology-based businesses in North Dakota face a serious threat from off-shore competition. North Dakota manufacturers are not immune from the pressures of globalization and competition.
The Department of Commerce has concluded, through a combination of both a manufacturing survey and personal visits with manufacturing leaders across the state, that future expansion of our manufacturing sector will come not from labor growth, but rather from innovation and productivity gains, as well as a strong focus on developing foreign markets. State policy, both in terms of taxes and finance, should be examined to help stimulate and incent growth in this fashion.
Specific tactics used for advanced manufacturing includes the Dakota Manufacturing Extension Partnership which also assists manufacturers to help them become more competitive.
The Centers of Excellence program has also been used to strengthen North Dakota's manufacturers and technology-based businesses. Advanced Manufacturing Centers of Excellence include:
- Strom Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (Dickinson State)
- Dakota Center for Technology Optimized Agriculture (Lake Region)
- Center for Advanced Electronics Design and Manufacturing (NDSU)
- Center for Surface Protection (NDSU)
- COE in Life Sciences and Advanced Technologies (UND)
- Center for Integrated Electronic Systems (NDSU)
- Center for Biopharmaceutical Research and Production (NDSU)
- Center for Passive Therapeutics (UND)
Finally, with support from the legislature, the North Dakota Trade Office has been able to increase its efforts to expand North Dakota's exports to high-demand foreign markets. In fact, North Dakota lead the nation in export growth in 2007 with 34%. Continued support and funding for the trade office is essential to continued market growth for our state's manufacturers.