Industrial employment in Hawaii fell 3 percent over the past 12 months according to the 2010 Hawaii Manufacturers Directory, an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers' News Inc. MNI reports Hawaii lost 754 industrial jobs between December 2008 and December 2009, the sharpest decline MNI has ever reported in the 13 years it has been tracking the state's industry.

Manufacturers' News reports Hawaii is now home to 1,196 manufacturers employing 24,157 workers.

"As with the entire nation, the recession has affected Hawaii's core sectors," says Tom Dubin, president of the Evanston, Ill-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. "However, the state's strong exports should help lay the groundwork for recovery."

Exports of goods produced in Hawaii have increased significantly, according to government data, rising 133 percent from 2004-2008, the fifth-largest increase of all 50 states.

Food products remains the state's largest industrial sector by employment with 9,252 jobs, down 4.5 percent over the year, following the closure of the Gay & Robinson sugar mill, among others. Printing/publishing ranks second with 3,984 jobs, down 1.3 percent. Third-ranked textiles/apparel accounts for 1,974 jobs, down 22.4 percent over the past 12 months.

Industrial sectors that lost jobs over the year included transportation equipment, down 10.6 percent, and furniture/fixtures, down 7 percent. No significant change in employment was reported for paper products, stone/clay/glass, fabricated metals and electronics. Gains were seen for industrial machinery and equipment, up 10.1 percent; chemicals, up 6.2 percent; and lumber/wood, up 3.2 percent.

Oahu is home to the most industrial employment in Hawaii, accounting for 18,957 jobs, or 78 percent of the state, with 71 percent of these jobs located in Honolulu. MNI reports Oahu employment was down 3 percent over the year. The Big Island accounts for 2,533 jobs, with employment up 3.1 percent over the year. Maui is home to 2,121 manufacturing jobs, down 1.9 percent since December 2008, while Kauai accounts for 546, down 26.4 percent over the year.

Honolulu is home to 13,438 industrial jobs, down 4.6 percent over the year. Kapolei accounts for 2,473 jobs, up 3.4 percent since December 2008. Aiea saw employment increase 7.2 percent and is currently home to 1,191 industrial workers, while Waipahu accounts for 1,007 of the state's jobs, down 7.4 percent over the year. Puunene jobs are down 5.3 percent, with the fifth-ranked city home to 920 workers.