Thursday, January 12 2017
By Pete Mohan, Site Selection Consultant, Wadley Donovan Gutshaw Consulting
Medical device manufacturing is a dynamic industry, holding the attention of nearly every economic development agency in the country. However, with only about 300,000 employed in the industry nationwide, there are certainly limited opportunities to secure such operations. To help understand the direction that business is heading, a closer look at the prevailing trends is necessary. As saturation in traditional MedTech markets begins to push activity to other parts of the U.S. and the globe, new growth opportunities emerge for the burgeoning industry.
Throughout the nation, manufacturing employment faces the growing headwinds of automation and process improvement. Despite a growing economy since the end of the Great Recession that has seen a 6.9 percent increase in overall employment since 2012, manufacturing employment growth was less than half that rate (3.3 percent). The highly-technical nature of most medical device manufacturing operations makes the industry even more susceptible to technological forces, resulting in decreased employment but increased efficiency and profitability. This is corroborated by a decrease in employment of a half percent over the same period, while simultaneously growing gross wages by 11.3 percent, a truly impressive increase in the face of employment loss. See Table A.