SoloPoint Insights

Wisconsin’s Hot Industries in 2024

Wisconsin is witnessing a surge in demand for engineering candidates, especially within its manufacturing sector.

With nearly 9,200 manufacturing plants and over 574,000 employees, Wisconsin ranks 9th in manufacturing employment among U.S. states contributing almost $70 billion annually. Despite recent layoffs affecting approximately 3,000 individuals, certain industries are still hiring, with total nonfarm jobs increasing by 3,200 in February and by 22,400 over the year. With the job market remaining competitive, engineers have opportunities to explore in-demand sectors in Wisconsin, making it an excellent time to consider new roles.

Which industries are still hiring?

1. Automation and Industrial Machinery

Employing 42,842 workers, Milwaukee has the largest number of industrial jobs in the state of Wisconsin and the 15th-largest industrial market in the U.S. The industrial machinery sector is the largest manufacturing employment sector, with over 18% of the state’s industrial workforce.

Relevancy in Today’s Market:

Automation is vital for Wisconsin manufacturers, with 84% of large manufacturers considering it crucial and 48% planning to increase investment. Planned investments are up 43% on average, with a median of $400,000, focusing on robotics (38%), equipment upgrades (19%), and custom automation (12%).

Growth projection: 

The global industrial automation market is projected to reach $307.7 billion by 2030, with North America holding 35% of the market and hosting the world’s largest industrial automation and control systems. The manufacturing sector is the largest consumer of industrial automation, comprising over 30% of the market.

Automation and industrial companies that are hiring in the Midwest:

Konecranes, which specializes in cranes and lifting equipment, launched a research and innovation program to boost industrial productivity and create hundreds of jobs within five years, highlighting the company’s commitment to R&D. 

Rockwell Automation, which specializes in industrial automation, received a grant part of nearly $10 million to boost renewable energy, energy storage, efficiency, and resiliency projects in Wisconsin. They plan to hire manufacturing engineers to support these initiatives.

Lastly, Johnson Controls International, a multinational company that manufactures fire, HVAC, and security equipment, was awarded a multi-million dollar AFFECT grant for an electrification project. They have open positions in mechanical and electrical engineering.

2. Food Processing

In Wisconsin, job growth in the food processing sector went up by 2.8% and now sustains 136,000 jobs, accounting for 13% of the state’s industrial workforce. The state has over 3,700 food and beverage companies and hosts operations for 8 of the 10 largest food companies making #1 in the U.S. in food product machinery manufacturing.

Relevancy in today’s market?

The food industry’s surging innovations, such as the development of food preservation and packaging automation, are set to propel the growth of the Food Processing Global Market. 

Growth projection?

Employment for food processing equipment is projected to grow 6% from 2022 to 2032, with about 39,900 openings annually. The food processing market is also estimated to reach $186.4 billion by 2027, growing at a 6.2% CAGR.

Food processing companies that are hiring in the MidWest:

Nestle, a food and beverage company known for their products: Nescafe, Kitkat, and Milo, will invest in a $195 million factory expansion in Jefferson, which is expected to bring around 100 jobs in multiple locations including Illinois and Wisconsin. 

Frozen pizzamaker, Palermo’s, is broadening its manufacturing capabilities with the construction of a new 200,000-square-foot facility in West Milwaukee. This new plant will focus on pizza production and create 50 new manufacturing positions. Giacomo Fallucca, CEO and Chairman of the Board for Palermo’s, said, “The 50 new positions we will be creating are skilled labor roles which require specific training and are key roles in our manufacturing process.”

3. Fabricated Metals

The iron and steel market size is $593.4 million in Wisconsin, as it hosts 2,789 fabricated metal product manufacturing companies, employing 12% of the industrial workforce

Relevancy in today’s market

Fabricated structural steel is crucial for industrial, commercial, and residential construction, with key end-use industries including automotive, construction, manufacturing, energy, and electronics. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed in 2021, could add 40-45 million tons of steel-intensive projects and 20-25 million tons for equipment manufacturing over the next five years.

Growth projection

The U.S. metal fabrication market is projected to surpass $473.7 billion by 2031. This growth is driven by the high demand for sheet metal production in the building & construction, automotive, and automation industries. In addition, North America’s market is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 4.8%, driven by automation and tech upgrades.

Fabricated metal companies that are hiring in the Midwest:

Lucas Milhaupt, a brazing alloy manufacturer, moved to a new $10 million, 105,000-square-foot world headquarters in Cudahy in November 2023. According to their President and CEO, John Ashe, this relocation is specifically designed to advance new product development as well as attract and retain world-class talent to fuel the company’s growth. 

In addition, iron castings supplier Waupaca Foundry, announced the signing of a definitive acquisition agreement with Monomoy to accelerate their global expansion last 2023. They are currently looking for electrical engineers and various engineering positions in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin’s industrial landscape remains robust fueling a soaring demand for skilled engineering professionals. If you’re a mechanical, electrical, or manufacturing engineer currently residing in or considering relocation to Wisconsin, these thriving industries offer exhilarating career opportunities. 

Visit SoloPoint Solutions’ Job Board or connect with one of our technical recruiters to explore current opportunities:

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