All $39 billion from the landmark CHIPS and Science Act is going to be allocated by the end of the year according to a recent announcement by the U.S. Government, incentivizing onshore semiconductor production with considerable tax breaks and direct grants. At the same time, cleantech tax credits, advances like solid-state EV batteries and a spike in investor interest for U.S.-based production all spell one thing: Manufacturing is riding high.

Empowered by this multifaceted situation and a surge in reshoring, U.S. manufacturing space development has entered a phase of historic growth, quickly becoming a darling asset class within industrial real estate. In this paradigm, long-established manufacturing centers compete with newcomers to attract investment and deliver high-tier properties.

To look at which areas show the most promise amid the resurgence of manufacturing, we ranked the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) by total industrial manufacturing space based on a three sets of indicators: manufacturing space inventory, manufacturing indicators and costs, and logistics infrastructure (read our Methodology section for a full breakdown of the metrics). We then selected the 20 best performers to highlight their individual strengths when it comes to manufacturing.

1. Dallas MSA

Racking up a total of almost 55 points with great showings across the board, Dallas-Fort Worth is the #1 best metro for manufacturing in the U.S. While logistics and distribution, corporate services, healthcare and information technology are industries that normally come to mind when analyzing the Metroplex’s economic backdrop, manufacturing is a Dallas-Fort Worth centerpiece — and that may ring even more true in the near future.

That’s because Texas is the largest exporter of manufactured goods among all U.S. states and second only to California in factory production. Additionally, Dallas-Fort Worth concentrates much of the Lone Star State’s manufacturing capabilities. The rising significance of manufacturing in DFW is evidenced by the fact that 9.2 million square feet of manufacturing space was delivered here in the last five years alone for the largest expansion in the U.S., ahead of Phoenix’s 6.5 million and Chicago’s 4.7 million.

Still, it's worth noting that the Dallas Fed’s Manufacturing Outlook Survey painted a picture of ups and downs for manufacturing in the state in the last year, manifesting in slowing production and dropping business activity. However, these difficulties may simply be temporary blips as the state moves toward advanced manufacturing and absorbs new projects, as investors are still betting big on the potential rewards of nearshoring in the state. Moreover, Dallas is particularly poised to profit from the trend with several high-profile companies — like Siemens, Ballard Power Systems and GlobiTech — joining local chip giant Texas Instruments in expanding their production capabilities in the metro. And, with no fewer than 17 public airports in the metro — the highest number of all of the cities in the study — supply chain logistics are another contributing factor to Dallas-Fort Worth’s first-place finish.

2. Chicago MSA

Chicago ranks as the second-best metro for manufacturing in the U.S., boasting a huge inventory of industrial manufacturing space as well as the infrastructure and talent to keep them running. The metro is home to the largest manufacturing inventory nationwide at 226.4 million square feet, which is 40 million ahead of Los Angeles and 60 million more than Dallas-Fort Worth.

Beyond scoring top marks for this indicator, Chicago is also home to the second-largest workforce employed in production occupations with almost 287,000 such jobs in the metro. Its status as the Midwest’s foremost logistics hub is also evident through the fact that Chicago has the third-most miles of roadways servicing the metro at more than 4,800. And, while Chicago had strong showings in other metrics as well, its status as a complete manufacturing center is already evident from these three alone.

Granted, as one of the most storied manufacturing centers in the U.S., Chicago’s strong finish is to be expected. Light manufacturing — including pharmaceuticals, food processing, apparel and more — always stood alongside the local steel industry throughout its history. Although offshoring in the last few decades has challenged the sector considerably, recent supply chain issues are now leading companies to reevaluate the significance of local production. Similarly, government initiatives like Made in Chicago are also aimed at sustaining and developing the place that manufacturing holds in the local economy and securing its position among the foremost production centers in the U.S.

3. Phoenix MSA

Semiconductor factories are at the cutting edge of manufacturing, requiring ample developable space in greenfield locations. Thus, this requirement has placed Phoenix high on the list of expanding semiconductor makers, given the Valley of the Sun’s sprawl.

For example, after an initial Phoenix-area investment of $12 billion in 2020, chip mammoth Taiwan Semiconductor Company (TSMC) began construction of a second facility in early 2023, tripling its investment. Now, a third fabrication plant has been announced in conjunction with $6.6 billion in direct CHIPS Act funding, bringing TSMC’s total investment in Phoenix to more than $65 billion. In parallel with TSMC’s developments, Intel also moved to benefit from federal funding with a considerable expansion of its Phoenix facilities. As a result, Phoenix stands to become one of the foremost chip manufacturing hubs in the entire country. That includes the production of leading-edge, 2-nanometer technology chips, which are the most advanced type currently available which were previously only made overseas.

It's not just chipmakers driving manufacturing in the Valley of the Sun, though. Rather, the industry as a whole has experienced explosive growth in recent years, with the metro receiving top marks in three different categories in our study. More precisely, Phoenix has (1) the largest share of modern manufacturing stock out of its total (30.2%), (2) the largest percentage growth of manufacturing space in the last five years (11.4%), as well as (3) the largest new stock currently under construction (10.5 million square feet). These metrics highlight Phoenix as a rising star in the industry, despite a relatively undersized current manufacturing inventory of 64.3 million square feet.

4. Detroit MSA

Perhaps no metro area has experienced as many manufacturing-led highs and lows as Detroit. From the early copper smelting and railroad car building industries to the famous automotive and armament industries, manufacturing has been the industry defining Detroit for much of its history. Even so, since the hardships brought on by the decline of the local automotive industry, the metro has struggled to redefine itself, best evidenced by its 2013 bankruptcy filing. However, Motown has since been making strides toward urban renewal to become one of the former Rust Belt’s success stories.

Detroit’s biggest win when it comes to our ranking is part of its manufacturing heritage. In particular, the metro boasts the second-largest manufacturing space inventory at 192.2 million square feet, representing more than half of the metro’s total industrial space. Of course, much of that space is lower-tier and in need of renovation, with just 11.6% of current manufacturing stock being constructed since the year 2000. Still, Detroit’s considerable inventory can provide opportunities for renovation, redevelopment or affordability for growth-phase companies. What’s more, the shift to advanced manufacturing is still congruent with Detroit’s automotive history, with EV battery company Fortescue choosing the metro as the location of its first advanced manufacturing center in the U.S.

Other metrics where Detroit had strong showings included industrial manufacturing space added between 2019 and 2023 (3.6 million square feet for fourth in the top 20) and employment in production occupations (185,200 for fifth in the top 20).

5. Los Angeles MSA

Compared to the previous entries on the list, Los Angeles has considerably sparser greenfield developable space in low-density areas that's necessary for sprawling advanced manufacturing plants. However, LA’s huge array of economic sectors and its diverse, well-educated workforce also provide a boon for Southern California manufacturing.

Los Angeles scored top marks for its 17,600 manufacturing companies and establishments — the largest concentration of any U.S. metro area and ahead of New York metro’s 15,800 and Chicago’s 11,800. Additionally, Greater Los Angeles also has the largest workforce employed in production occupations as defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The high level of manufacturing business diversity as well as strong sector employment stand testament to the health and growth of the manufacturing sector in Los Angeles. From aeronautics parts to musical instruments and from furniture to satellites, the metro produces a wide array of goods even as space for new fabrication plants is hard to come by.

6. Cleveland MSA

Railroad logistics transformed Cleveland from a regional economic hub to one of the foremost manufacturing centers in the U.S. in the 20th century. And, although the metro faced the same hardships as other Rust Belt locales, its rail system is still one of the strongest upsides amid the local government’s efforts to revitalize its industry. Along the same lines, Ohio has the largest concentration of railway miles compared to the state’s surface area, granting Cleveland — as well as 11th-place Columbus — full marks for that indicator.

Meanwhile, advanced manufacturing companies are also drawn to metro Cleveland due to the area’s affordability, as it has the third-lowest average asking rent for industrial space in the entire top 20. Accordingly, this has driven a wave of companies that helped bring Cleveland’s manufacturing scene into the 21st century. For example, Ultium Cells — the maker of EM battery cells for General Motors — has chosen the Cleveland MSA as the site of a 156-acre, 2.8-million-square-foot factory and a 434,000-square-foot supporting warehouse.

7. New York City MSA

By far the largest metropolitan statistical area in the U.S. by population, New York-Newark-Jersey City isn’t just home to more than 20 million residents — it also boasts one of the most robust manufacturing industries that’s revving up for reshoring.

First and foremost, the metro’s logistical advantages can’t be understated. The Port of New York and New Jersey is one of the busiest ports for maritime cargo in the world, but the local road network and airports provide additional supply line capacity. In fact, the metro has the highest number of miles of highways and other heavy roadways in the U.S. in conjunction with the seventh-largest number airports. Likewise, New York-Newark-Jersey City also boasts excellent manufacturing business diversity and employment, scoring second and third in those metrics in the top 20, respectively. And, while initiatives like the CHIPS and Science Act primarily target large manufacturers, small and mid-sized manufacturers in New York and New Jersey can benefit from programs like the New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s Advanced Manufacturing Initiative, or the workforce-centric New Jersey Manufacturing Skills Initiative.

8. Austin MSA

At #8, Austin, Texas — a manufacturing center on the rise — punched above its weight and ranked ahead of markets like Houston and Cincinnati. To that end, Austin is currently the second-smallest manufacturing market by current space in the top 20, but it compensates for that by being the centerpiece of manufacturing growth in Central Texas, as well as one of the most active advanced manufacturing centers in the U.S. The recent manufacturing development surge in the metro is best encapsulated by its 10.2% inventory expansion in the last five years alone — the second-largest expansion nationally — as well as the 7.5 million square feet of extra space currently in the pipeline, which will provide an additional 31% expansion. Plus, Austin manufacturing has other significant advantages, such as the lowest manufacturing labor costs in the entire top 20.

Here, Samsung recently made headlines with an expansion of its metro Austin cluster with a 2.7-million-square foot, $40-billion fabrication plant, highlighting the company's commitment to the area that it has called home for several decades. Other recent significant developments here include Tesla's Gigafactory Texas and a secondary location in Hutto, Texas; a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility by medical technology company Enovis; and an engineering and production facility by defense company BAE Systems. In short, with impressive development and the talent and affordability to boot, Central Texas is one of the Lone Star State's most promising areas for manufacturing.

9. Houston MSA

Up next, Houston reached #9 thanks to a mix of traditional manufacturing industries — like petrochemicals and fertilizers — supplemented by cutting-edge fields like pharmaceuticals, superconductors and aerospace.

Despite its long history as a manufacturing center, Houston has a remarkably modern manufacturing space stock. Specifically, almost a quarter of manufacturing space located here was built after 2000 — the third-largest share in the top 20 — indicating a larger concentration of companies requiring modern space for their industrial operations. Houston also has the fifth-largest total manufacturing inventory and the fifth-highest number of manufacturing establishments, further highlighting it as a robust center for production. At the same time, education works in Houston’s favor too, as institutions of higher learning — like the University of Houston’s Advanced Manufacturing Institute — provide valued talent and knowledge for the metro’s companies.

10. Cincinnati MSA

Returning to the Midwest, Cincinnati reached the halfway point of our ranking thanks to good showings in manufacturing space inventory, share of manufacturing out of industrial space and miles of railway in combination with relatively low asking rents for industrial space, thereby painting it as an affordable area with untapped potential.

Notably, Cincinnati has been making strides in modernizing its economy — and also becoming one of the Midwest’s most livable cities in the process. For instance, Fortune 500 firms like Procter & Gamble and General Motors are already tapping into the metro’s infrastructure and skilled labor pool, but a plethora of other companies from industries like food production and processing or aerospace are also contributing to Cincinnati’s ongoing success story.

11. Columbus MSA

Staying in Ohio, Columbus ranks as the 11th-best U.S. metro area for manufacturing, standing out as another storied market with great logistics and affordability for companies looking to expand. Thanks to Ohio’s railway density, Columbus received top marks in that category alongside fellow Buckeye State entries Cleveland and Akron. However, with 11 public airports located here, metro Columbus is home to the sixth-most airports in the top 20 and the ninth-most in the entire U.S., providing another logistical boon. Additionally, 2.5 million square feet of manufacturing space was built here between 2019 and 2023 for a 5.3% increase in inventory, making Columbus the fifth-best scorer in the top 20 in those metrics.

It's also worth noting that manufacturing in Columbus doesn’t just stand on the shoulders of the production of automobiles, machinery and consumer goods that drove the metro’s growth in previous decades. Rather, Intel plans to invest $20 billion in two leading-edge chip factories spanning nearly 1,000 acres in the metro, and LG is also building an EV battery plant here.

12. Elkhart-Goshen MSA

With just 207,000 residents, the Elkhart-Goshen, Ind., metro area is by far the smallest on our list by population size. Despite that, the metro has a sizable manufacturing sector with conditions that could greatly benefit future expansion.

Specifically, two product categories drive much of the manufacturing work in Elkhart — musical instruments and recreational vehicles. Meanwhile, Goshen’s industry relies on automobile production. In all, manufacturing space accounts for more than two-thirds of the metro’s total industrial space inventory —the largest share in the nation — but industrial space here is also remarkably affordable. And, although the metro scored lower for the number of workers in production occupations, the 52,620 residents working in manufacturing jobs mean that one in four Elkhart-Goshen residents are employed in manufacturing.

13. Scranton MSA

The Scranton-Wilkes-Barre metro area in Pennsylvania reached #13 in our ranking as one of only four metro areas with fewer than 1 million residents. The metro achieved that by claiming the second-newest manufacturing space stock in the top 20 with 26% of its inventory being built after 2000, in conjunction with the best affordability for industrial space on the list. It's also worth noting that Scranton’s manufacturing scene is still growing, expanding by 7.3% in the last five years to reach 17.4 million square feet in all. While that represents the smallest inventory in the top 20, its accelerated growth could see it rapidly catching up, especially as investor interest in manufacturing intensifies.

Scranton’s production output includes military ordnance, consumer products and food and beverages. As such, while investments from high-profile companies have not yet benefited Scranton as they have the larger manufacturing centers on the list, the metro nevertheless shows great promise as a more affordable, rapidly-expanding secondary market.

14. Grand Rapids MSA

Back in Michigan, Grand Rapids — another Rust Belt production hub that’s making a comeback — reached #14 on our ranking of best metro areas for manufacturing. Here, almost 53% of all industrial space in Greater Grand Rapids is manufacturing space, which is a testament to the industry’s history as well as its continued significance in the metro’s economy. Grand Rapids also boasts the fifth most affordable manufacturing workforce in the top 20, in addition to above-average showings in manufacturing space growth and average asking rents for industrial space.

Furniture, automotive and aviation make up a large share of metro Grand Rapids’ manufacturing output. At the same time, the area is also benefiting from the recent manufacturing investment boom. Namely, Gotion, a Chinese EV battery maker, aims to build a $2.4 billion plant in the metro, though the project has since been marred by a lawsuit between the company and the local government. Otherwise, events like the annual Advanced Manufacturing Expo also contribute to the future expansion of the industry here.

15. Greenville MSA

In 15th place, the Greenville-Anderson, S.C., metro area was known for a long time as “The Textile Capital of the World.” Then, offshoring hit the local textile industry hard, but the area still remains a major manufacturing center and the trend toward reshoring promises to further benefit metro Greenville. Plus, the metro is home to the Michelin’s North American headquarters, housing both tire production as well as other operations such as a robotics wing.

In our ranking, Greenville cracked the top 20 best metros for manufacturing thanks to a conjunction of affordable labor costs, fast-growing manufacturing space inventory and modern manufacturing facilities. At $37,860, median wages for production occupations in the metro are the fourth-lowest in the top 20, even as manufacturing stock grew by 3.8% in the last five years.

16. Philadelphia MSA

The 2.5 million square feet of manufacturing space under construction in Philadelphia constitutes the fifth-largest expansion nationwide. It also provided the metro with an influx of new inventory after it expanded by just 620,000 square feet — 0.7% of current stock — in the last five years. Consequently, Philadelphia’s industry may be coming back after a period of stagnation, and it's poised to benefit from the current national boom. Moreover, Philly’s transportation network supports this with the fourth-highest miles of highways, as well as the fifth-highest railway density in the top 20.

Here again, initiatives like Manufacturing PA are targeted at supporting advanced manufacturing in the state, and Philadelphia stands to be one of the primary beneficiaries. Companies from Boeing and Lockheed Martin to Dow Chemical and Pfizer operate manufactories in the metro, driving employment and contributing to Philadelphia’s ongoing status as one of the Eastern Seaboard’s primary manufacturing centers.

17. Milwaukee MSA

Milwaukee’s downtown renaissance and transformation into an up-and-coming tech and innovation hub doesn’t mean that manufacturing has been left by the wayside. Light manufacturing, such as food and beverage or medical products, as well as heavy manufacturing of machinery still plays a large role in the metro’s economy. In this case, the metro’s best scores came in the share of manufacturing space category, as 45.8% of the Milwaukee’s 158-million-square-foot industrial space inventory is dedicated to manufacturing space. In similar fashion to other Rust Belt locations making the list, the space available here may not have a large share of state-of-the-art production facilities, but their affordability compensates for that drawback for companies that can make use of discount manufacturing space.

As an example, local giant Milwaukee Tool is one of the most storied manufacturers operating in the metro, and the company is still investing considerable money into developing its production capacity here. At the same time, plenty of other manufacturers call Milwaukee home, especially in the 30th Street Corridor area, which houses companies such as Harley-Davidson. Likewise, organizations like the Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing and Productivity and programs like the Rockwell Automation Academy of Advanced Manufacturing also greatly contribute to renewing interest in Milwaukee’s manufacturing capabilities and modernizing the industry.

18. Akron MSA

Further East in the Rust Belt, Akron, Ohio, reached #18 on the list thanks to a familiar mix of availability of manufacturing space and affordability, together with good scores in other categories. As a matter of fact, Akron has an even larger share of manufacturing space out of total industrial inventory than 17th-place Milwaukee —50.6%  compared to 45.8% — while also boasting lower asking rates. Although Akron’s other indicators caused it to rank lower, the city also scored well due to Ohio’s concentration of railways, presenting Akron-based manufacturers with clear logistical benefits.

A lot of products are made in Akron, ranging from rubber products — which includes hometown favorite Goodyear — to porcelain, athletic gear, medical equipment and skincare products. A large number of Fortune 500 companies operate factories in the city, proving that manufacturing is here to stay even as Akron makes strides in modernizing its identity and economy.

19. Atlanta MSA

Atlanta’s post-World War II manufacturing boom is still chugging along even as tech, logistics and entertainment play a growing role in the metro’s economy. Notably, no fewer than 16 airports service the Atlanta metro, placing it second only to Dallas in terms of air logistics capacity. However, that was far from Atlanta’s only strong suit in our ranking: it also has the third most affordable manufacturing workforce in the entire top 20, as well as great highway infrastructure and ample manufacturing space under construction.

Of course, Atlanta’s manufacturing upsides are all too familiar to the plethora of companies that either call the city their home or have set up operations here. From world-class companies like Coca-Cola and Mercedes-Benz to large American brands like Home Depot and Delta, the multitude of companies and industries betting big on Atlanta contribute significantly to demand for manufacturing space and cement the industry as one of the metro’s most promising.

20. Minneapolis MSA

Closing out the top 20, Minneapolis cracked into the top by faring well in most metrics despite not particularly standing out in any of them. For instance, manufacturing space in the metro expanded by 1.83 million square feet in the last five years, translating into a steady 2.2% growth rate which may accelerate amid the ongoing boom. According to the BLS, more than 127,000 of the metro’s residents work in manufacturing across 4,900 establishments, indicating both a healthy industrial output even as Minneapolis enjoys the fruits of its economic diversification efforts. Notably, employees in production occupations earn a median wage of $45,300 — the highest in the entire top 20 — making for higher labor costs but outlining the demand for manufacturing talent here.

Additionally, modern production facilities have been gradually replacing the city’s older factories. Just last year, aerospace company ION Corp. announced plans for a new facility in the metro, and plastics recycler Myplas is also investing in a new recycling facility here. At the same time, local firms are also driving new development in Minneapolis, like a new vinyl pressing plant envisioned by three local entrepreneurs.

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