Industrial employment in Mississippi fell 5.1 percent over the past 12 months according to the 2010 Mississippi Manufacturers Register, an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers' News Inc. MNI reports Mississippi lost 9,661 industrial jobs and 164 manufacturers between February 2009 and February 2010.

Manufacturers' News reports Mississippi is now home to 3,182 manufacturers employing 181,395 workers.

"Mississippi has seen some employment losses due to automation and technology, outsourcing and the recession," says Tom Dubin, president of Manufacturers' News. "But its favorable business climate and its strong food products sector, which is less susceptible to outsourcing, have kept it from seeing some of the severe losses suffered by other states."

Bright spots for the state include the planned opening of an Anderson Technologies precision injection molding plant in Batesville, the planned expansion of a GE Aviation jet component facility, also in Batesville, and German pipe manufacturer Wilh. Schulz GMBH's opening of their first North American pipe manufacturing facility in Tunica County. Other industrial companies seeing expansion include a Parker Hannifin facility, lawnmower manufacturer MTD, food processor Newly Weds Foods, furniture maker Max Home LLC, and Principals of United Furniture Industries.

According to MNI, food products manufacturing remains the state's largest industrial sector by employment, with 24,204 jobs, and was one of the few sectors to gain jobs, up 2.9 percent over the year. Transportation equipment ranks second, with 22,302 jobs, down 5.1 percent. Third-ranked industrial machinery and equipment saw the steepest drop, down 12.7 percent over the year, and currently accounts for 19,657 industrial jobs.

MNI reports other sectors that lost jobs over the past 12 months included printing/publishing, down 9.8 percent; paper products, down 9.5 percent; electronics, down 7.3 percent; chemicals, down 7.1 percent; lumber/wood, down 5.8 percent; primary metals, down 5.8 percent; fabricated metals, down 4.7 percent; rubber/plastics, down 4.1 percent; furniture/fixtures, down 4 percent; and textiles/apparel, down 3.8 percent.

Companies closing facilities over the year included Whirlpool Corporation, which shuttered a location in Oxford, Clorox Manufacturing Products Company, which closed its Pine-Sol plant, and printing company Quebecor, which shut down its Olive Branch facility.

MNI reports Southeast Mississippi accounts for the most industrial employment in the state, with 62,119 industrial jobs, down 4.5 percent over 12 months. Northeast Mississippi accounts for 49,621 industrial jobs, down 4.9 percent. The Southwest region of the state is home to 41,766 industrial workers, down 3.8 percent, while the Northwest is home to 27,889, down 8.4 percent.

Pascagoula remains the state's top city by industrial employment with 15,071 manufacturing jobs, down 4 percent over the year. Laurel saw employment decrease 2.2 percent and is currently home to 7,526 industrial workers. Jackson accounts for 6,993 industrial jobs, down 5.9 percent, while Tupelo accounts for 6,267 of the state's jobs, down 5 percent. Fifth-ranked Meridian accounts for 5,402 jobs, down 8.1 percent over the past 12 months.