Advanced Manufacturing in the American South: An Economic Analysis Supporting Regional Development
The Southern Governors’ Association, under its 2013 president Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, commissioned the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) to conduct an economic analysis on the value of a regional approach to support the South's advanced manufacturing sector. As the report shows, a cluster strategy of economic development is a fitting framework for promoting a strong advanced manufacturing sector in the South and beneficial spillover impacts for the broad regional economy. Innovation deficits and labor force gaps are the biggest challenges that the South faces, but they are not insurmountable. Well-placed investments in the development of science and technical education can yield measurable returns. The Southern states have been effective in promoting a low-cost strategy of economic advancement, particularly in manufacturing. This strategy should be supplemented by investments that will promote value added in the production process, an element of business competitiveness that is just as important as low costs.