Workforce and Supply Chain Present Ongoing Challenges for Manufacturers

The enduring effects of the COVID pandemic have surprisingly little to do with COVID according to the 2021 State of Manufacturing® survey results. It reveals that over 67 percent of Minnesota’s manufacturers are very concerned about supply chain issues and workforce challenges came in a close second among the top concerns at 61 percent, a 25-point jump from last year’s survey.

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Enterprise Minnesota is holding its survey release event at an in-person gathering from 3 to 7 pm, Wednesday, Nov. 10 at the Minneapolis Marriott Northwest. Manufacturers and supporters of the industry are invited to attend free of charge, or people may watch the event online at

The State of Manufacturing® is a comprehensive annual survey of Minnesota manufacturing executives that gauges their perceptions on the state of their business, their outlook on the economy and other issues impacting business and employees.

The worker shortage, supply chain challenges, inflation and the continued uncertainty of ever-changing government regulations present significant head winds for manufacturers, according to Bob Kill, Enterprise Minnesota’s President & CEO. “Manufacturers will, however, navigate around the issues within their control and deal with the issues that are out of their control. Manufacturers still remain the lifeblood of Minnesota’s local communities, their employees, and the state’s economy,” Kill said.

2021 survey highlights include:

  • Supply chain topped the list of manufacturers’ concerns, followed by attracting qualified workers, which saw an increase of 25 percentage points from 2020.
  • Companies are evenly split (48% to 48%) on the long-term negative impact they believe the pandemic will have on the economy.
  • Manufacturers remain confident in the future of their businesses, with 87% saying they were optimistic that their companies would continue to do well.
  • Fears of a potential recession dropped to 18%, or exactly half of the respondents compared to last year’s survey, while 35% anticipate economic expansion.

Bob Kill is available for interviews. Please contact Robert Lodge to schedule an interview: 612-455-4213.

Complete survey results, analysis and cross-tabulations are available at

Nationally-recognized polling research firm Meeting Street Insights conducted phone interviews with 400 manufacturing executives across the state between Sept. 8—Oct. 7, 2021. The survey was limited to CEOs, CFOs, COOs, presidents, vice presidents, and managing officers. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent. The research was complemented by 13 focus groups of manufacturing executives from around the state.

Enterprise Minnesota is a business consulting organization that works exclusively with manufacturers in Minnesota to help them compete and grow profitably. It is the official Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) center for the state of Minnesota.