MOLINE, Illinois -- A new economic study shows the manufacturing industry in Illinois generates more than 300 billion dollars in output each year. It also shows the average manufacturing salary in Rock Island County is more than $76,000.
The Illinois Manufacturer's Association has been highlighting the findings in a statewide tour, including a stop at Moline Forge on Wednesday.
"This is a very old fashioned process, you can hear the banging in the background, heating up metal and forming it into a final shape," said Moline Forge President and CEO Vic Almgren at a press conference outside the forge shop. "But it's also a very high-tech process. For us, the key really is our employees who have the knowledge and know-how to make a quality part," he said.
Founded in 1915, Moline Forge remains a family-owned company. Today, the business employs 50 high-skilled workers.
"These are good middle-class jobs in our communities," said Mark Denzler, president, and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association. "Allow a person to take a vacation, buy a car, send their kid to college and live the American dream."
The IMA study shows that the industry supports 13,600 jobs in Rock Island County alone. Manufacturing generates 3.7 billion dollars in economic output, which is 13 percent of Rock Island County's GDP.
Even as rising automation and outsourcing overseas presents challenges to the manufacturing industry nationwide, Moline Forge continues hammering out parts for iconic global manufacturers and local business alike.