Industrial employment in Iowa fell 4.1 percent over the past 12 months according to the 2010 Iowa Manufacturers Register, an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers' News Inc. MNI reports Iowa lost 11,072 industrial jobs and 222 plants between January 2009 and January 2010, the sharpest decline MNI has ever reported in the 27 years it has been tracking the state's industry.

Manufacturers' News reports Iowa is now home to 5,699 manufacturers employing 272,587 workers.

"Iowa hasn't been hit as hard as many other states, partially because of its strong agricultural base," says Tom Dubin, president of Manufacturers' News. "Fortunately, land cannot be outsourced. But the recession has taken its toll on other industrial sectors, particularly those dependent on the housing market."

According to MNI, the lumber/wood sector saw the worst decline in employment, down 13.1 percent, following layoffs at Omega Cabinetry and Pella Corp, among others. Furniture/fixtures fell 8.5 percent.

MNI reports other sectors losing jobs over the past 12 months included transportation equipment down 10.6 percent, due partially to the closure of Cummins Filtration and layoffs at Eaton Corporation. Employment in rubber/plastics declined 6 percent, textiles/apparel fell 5.8 percent, electronics were down 4.9 percent, paper products were down 4.7 percent and printing/publishing were down 3.1 percent.

Food products manufacturing remains the state's largest industrial sector by employment with 58,213 jobs, down 2 percent over the year. Industrial machinery and equipment ranks second with 47,995 jobs, down 3 percent. Third-ranked fabricated metals account for 22,343 jobs, down 6.4 percent over the past 12 months.

Bright spots over the year included the expansion of military supplier Iowa Mold Tooling Company Inc. and the planned opening of packaging company Quality Associates. Other companies breaking ground in Iowa include a new Hormel Foods processing plant in Dubuque, an Ashley Industrial Molding facility, and Cambridge, Mass.-based Metabolix, which will manufacture biodegradable plastics from corn at a new facility in Clinton.

The Central East region of Iowa accounts for the most industrial employment in the state with 95,127 jobs, down 3.8 percent over the past 12 months. Southeast Iowa is home to 60,067 industrial workers, down 2.4 percent, while the Central West region accounts for 53,350, down 4 percent. Northeast Iowa saw manufacturing employment decline 5.1 percent and represents 24,349 of the state's jobs, while Northwest Iowa saw a decline of 5.1 percent, and is currently home to 23,844 industrial workers. Southwest Iowa accounts for 15,851 manufacturing jobs, down 6.1 percent.

Cedar Rapids remains the state's top city by industrial employment with 19,522 manufacturing jobs, down 3.4 percent over the year. Des Moines accounts for 17,510 jobs, down 1.3 percent. Waterloo saw employment decrease 6.8 percent and is currently home to 13,153 industrial workers, while Sioux City accounts for 9,110 of the state's jobs, with no significant change reported over the year. Fifth-ranked Dubuque accounts for 9,220 jobs, up 2.2 percent over the past 12 months.