Top manufacturing markets? Dallas and Chicago take the top two slots

Dallas and Chicago led the way in a new report highlighting the nation’s top-20 metropolitan areas for manufacturing.

Dallas ranked first and Chicago second on CommercialSearch’s May 22 list of the top metropolitan areas for manufacturing in 2024.

The manufacturing sector itself is gaining strength across the United States. CommercialSearch pointed to the $39 billion from the CHIPS and Science Act. All that money will have been allocated by the end of this year.

Then there is the increased production of batters for electric vehicles and the growing interest among investors for more U.S.-based production. It adds up to a surge in U.S. manufacturing.

CommercialSearch ranked the Dallas area as the best metropolitan area for manufacturing in the United States. CommercialSearch said that more than 9.2 million square feet of manufacturing space was added to the Texas market in the last five years. That ranks as the highest amount in the United States during this tim.

“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,” CommercialSearch said in its report.

Coming in just behind the Dallas-Fort Worth market was the Chicago metropolitan area. CommercialSearch reported that Chicago is home to the largest manufacturing inventory in the country at 226.4 million square feet, 40 million ahead of second-place Los Angeles and 60 million more than Dallas-Fort Worth.

Chicago is also home to the second-largest workforce employed in production occupations with almost 287,000 such jobs. Chicago also boasts the third-most miles of roadways servicing its metro area with more than 4,800.

“As one of the most storied manufacturing centers in the U.S., Chicago’s strong finish is to be expected,” CommercialSearch said in its report. “Light manufacturing 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.”

Detroit was the only other Midwest metro to make CommercialSearch’s top five, coming in as the fourth-strongest metropolitan area for manufacturing.

Cleveland, at number 6, and Cincinnati, at number 10, also made CommercialSearch’s top 10 in the Midwest. In Texas, Austin, at number 8, and Houston, at number 9, also made the top 10.

Other top-score metro areas include Columbus, Ohio, in 11th place; Elkhart, Indiana, at 12th; and Grand Rapids, Michigan, at 14th. Rounding out the top 20 were Milwaukee at 17th; Akron, Ohio, at 18th; and Minneapolis at 20th.