Port Report Highlights Importance of Industrial Jobs



It may seem like we’re living in more and more of a digital age. People familiar with the Duluth Seaway Port Authority know how important industrial jobs are. But not everyone else does.

“We undertook this study, in part, because large industry has become a forgotten part of Duluth’s economy,” explained Deb DeLuca, executive director. “We didn’t have a set of data to give decision makers, about how industry is still important, and here’s why and how.”

And now they do. She shared results of the ‘Foundations for Growth’ study at Wednesday’s board meeting. The study outlines how many industrial jobs that there are in Duluth. In 2016, there were nearly 9,500 of them. And they support an additional 8,400 in St. Louis County alone, per the report.

Industry includes the waterfront folks, aviation, paper, utilities, printing services, and even craft brewing. And the average wage in 2016, was $61,000, for an industrial job.

“Not only is there really good pay, there are really good benefits. And opportunities for career advancement. And it’s important to point out that it’s accessible to a wide range of backgrounds and preparedness. You don’t always need a college degree to work in industry,” DeLuca said.

DeLuca said the report showed that Duluth has lagged behind in growth of jobs and growth of population. She and other port leaders plan on sharing this study as a tool to help the region grow.

Also in port news, leaders shared that wind cargo is expected to surge this year. And there is still work being done to bring more cruise lines to Duluth.