Over the last five years, job growth and capital investment into the Richmond MSA for the manufacturing sector have grown substantially. While from 2018-2020, capital investment slowly decelerated, job growth saw steady gains until 2021 when both jobs and investment saw massive increases, primarily due to pet food manufacturer, Nestle Purina’s $182 million capital injection into its expansion and snack food manufacturer, Mondelez International’s $125 million investment in a 447,000 square foot build-to-suit warehouse at Sauer Industrial Center. Similarly in 2021, Starplast USA, a plastic container manufacturer, increased its job count to 300 new jobs and Grenova, a lab equipment manufacturer, added 250 new jobs. The average growth rate for jobs and investment over the past five years from new or expanding companies in Richmond are 50% and 60%, respectively.
In recent years, Civica and Phlow have invested in the Richmond region to spur growth within the life science and pharmaceutical industries. In late 2022, Civica announced a nearly $125 million investment to build a 120,000 square-foot sterile manufacturing facility and create more than 180 jobs. In April 2023, Phlow raised $36 million to grow research and development for its manufacturing organization.
Richmond has also seen heightened levels of out of market and foreign activity for the manufacturing sector. 2022 saw record levels of new investment, owing to The LEGO Group, with its announcement that it is building a 1.7 million square-foot manufacturing plant that will require an over $1 billion investment and create 1,760 jobs. As of the end of 2022, the average annual job growth rate for the Richmond market companies located outside of Virginia was 106% with an average annual investment growth rate of 73% over the last five years.
The Manufacturing job sector in Richmond has experienced steady growth over the last 10 years at an average growth rate of 2.0% per year. Growth in manufacturing jobs over the past 10 years was 6.0% from 30,700 jobs in 2013 to 32,500 jobs in 2023. Due to the pandemic, the manufacturing job sector contracted by 3.5%, but rebounded by 6.3% in 2021. 2022 ended with 3.5% jobs added in the manufacturing sector.
Richmond continues to position itself as a manufacturing hub and will look to see companies maintain elevated levels of job growth and capital investment infusion into the region.
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