Industrial employment in Arizona fell 4.8 percent over the past 12 months according to the 2010 Arizona Manufacturers Directory, an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers' News Inc. MNI reports Arizona lost 11,257 industrial jobs and 322 manufacturers between March 2009 and March 2010, the sharpest decline MNI has ever reported in the 10 years it has been tracking the state's industry.
Manufacturers' News reports Arizona is now home to 5,521 manufacturers employing 225,179 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/wood sector saw the worst decline in employment, down 22.7 percent. Employment in furniture/fixtures fell 14.4 percent.
MNI reports transportation equipment remains the state's largest industrial sector by employment with 30,942 jobs, down 4.4 percent over the year. Industrial machinery and equipment ranks second with 27,963 jobs, down 3.9 percent, while third-ranked fabricated metals accounts for 24,933 jobs, down 5 percent over the year.
According to MNI, sectors that lost jobs over the past 12 months included electronics, down 20.9 percent, due partially to the closure of Trompeter Electronics and layoffs at Microsemi Corporation and STMicroelectronics. Printing and publishing jobs declined 9.5 percent; rubber/plastics fell 5.4 percent; textiles/apparel fell 2.2 percent and food products were down 1.2 percent.
Bright spots for the state included the planned opening of China-based Suntech Power in Goodyear, which will manufacture solar panels, and the upcoming launch of a Tower Automotive facility, which will produce mirror components for solar power structures.
Phoenix remains the state's top city by industrial employment with 77,533 manufacturing jobs, down 6.4 percent over the year. Tucson saw employment decrease 3.7 percent and is currently home to 31,073 industrial workers. Chandler accounts for 22,993 industrial jobs, down 2.6 percent, while Tempe accounts for 19,977 of the state's jobs, down 4.6 percent. Fifth-ranked Scottsdale accounts for 13,269 jobs, up 3.1 percent over the past 12 months.