Industrial employment in Florida fell 7 percent over the past 12 months according to the 2010 Florida Manufacturers Register, an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers' News Inc. MNI reports Florida lost 38,278 industrial jobs and 932 manufacturers between February 2009 and February 2010.
Manufacturers' News reports Florida is now home to 14,928 manufacturers employing 505,005 workers.
"It's a perfect storm of negative conditions," says Tom Dubin, president of the Evanston, Ill.-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. "The country has suffered deep losses in manufacturing employment due to automation and technology, outsourcing and the recession, while the faltering housing market has affected industries such as wood products, furniture and building products."
According to MNI, the lumber and wood sector saw the worst decline in employment, down 16.8 percent. Furniture/fixtures declined 15.1 percent.
Electronics manufacturing has overtaken printing and publishing as the state's largest industrial sector by employment, with 52,500 jobs, down 2.5 percent over the year. Printing and publishing ranks second after losing 11 percent of its employment, and now accounts for 51,252 industrial workers. Third-ranked fabricated metal accounts for 48,076 industrial jobs, down 4.9 percent over the year.
MNI reports other sectors that lost jobs over the past 12 months included transportation equipment, down 14.7 percent; rubber/plastics, down 10.4 percent; textiles/apparel, down 10.3 percent; stone/clay/glass, down 10.1 percent; paper products, down 10 percent; primary metals, down 8.9 percent; food products, down 4.8 percent; and industrial machinery, down 4.2 percent.
Companies closing facilities over the year included Smithfield Foods, which recently shuttered its Plant City location, and WestPoint Home, which closed its bedding manufacturing plant in Chipley.
Bright spots for the state include the opening of water-efficient plumbing equipment manufacturer Coast Water Efficient Technologies, LLC, which recently moved its operations from Pomona, Calif., to Bay County, Florida; the expansion of solar cell equipment manufacturer Mustang Vacuum Systems LLC in Manatee County; the expansion of Guardian Manufacturing in Brevard County; and the expansion of CoreRx Pharmaceuticals in Tampa.
MNI reports Central Florida accounts for the most industrial employment in the state, with 226,388 industrial jobs, down 7.8 percent over 12 months. South Florida accounts for 183,855 industrial jobs, down 4.9 percent. The Northeast region of the state is home to 65,968 industrial workers, down 4.9 percent, while the Panhandle is home to 28,794, down 12.3 percent.
Jacksonville remains the state's top city by industrial employment with 41,618 manufacturing jobs, down 3.8 percent over the year. Miami saw employment decrease 8 percent and is currently home to 40,095 industrial workers. Orlando accounts for 33,300 industrial jobs, down 5.5 percent, while Tampa accounts for 28,954 of the state's jobs, down 9.3 percent. Fifth-ranked Fort Lauderdale accounts for 15,497 jobs, down 3.7 percent over the past 12 months.