Companies producing everything from steel to electric cars are planning and building new plants in Southwest states, far from historical hubs of American industry in the Midwest and Southeast. The lure is open land, local tax breaks and a growing supply of tech-savvy workers.
The Southwest, comprising Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma, increased its manufacturing output more than any other region in the U.S. in the four years through 2020, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal of data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Those states plus Nevada added more than 100,000 manufacturing jobs from January 2017 to January 2020, representing 30% of U.S. job growth in that sector and at roughly triple the national growth rate, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Executives say the region’s growing population makes for plenty of available labor, and its lower cost of living is a draw for new talent.
“I was surprised how straightforward a choice it was,” said Peter Rawlinson, chief executive for Lucid Motors Inc., an electric-vehicle startup that plans to open a $700 million vehicle factory this year in Arizona, where state officials rolled out the red carpet. “There was only one logical conclusion.”