Industrial employment in Colorado fell 2.7 percent over the past 12 months according to the 2011 Colorado Manufacturers Directory, an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers' News Inc. MNI reports Colorado lost 5,823 industrial jobs and 240 manufacturers between May 2009 and May 2010.

Manufacturers' News reports Colorado is home to 6,693 manufacturers employing 203,003 workers.

"The recession continues to affect many of Colorado's core sectors, while the faltering housing market has affected industries such as wood products, furniture and building products," says Tom Dubin, president of the Evanston, Ill.-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. "However the state's natural resources and investments in green industries should help lay the groundwork for recovery."

Bright spots for the state include the opening of Germany-based company SMA Solar Technology's first American facility in Denver, which will produce solar inverters; the opening of Abound Solar, which will manufacture solar panels in Longmont; and the expansion of aerospace manufacturer Sierra Nevada Corporation in Centennial.

Employment in the lumber and wood sector saw the worst drop in employment, down 16 percent over the 12-month period, following closures at Stock Building Supply, among others. The furniture/fixtures sector saw an 8.3 percent decline.

MNI reports food products manufacturing has overtaken electronics as the state's largest industrial sector after posting a 9.3 percent gain in employment. Food products currently accounts for 22,986 of Colorado's manufacturing jobs. Electronics manufacturing accounts for 21,687 jobs, down 3.3 percent, due partially to the closure of Reliant Manufacturing in Longmont. Third-ranked printing and publishing accounts for 18,590 jobs, down 8.5 percent over the year.

Other sectors that lost jobs over the year included fabricated metals, down 7.9 percent, following layoffs at Western Forge, among others. Industrial machinery and equipment declined 5.4 percent; primary metals fell 3 percent and transportation equipment decreased by 2.7 percent. Employment remained steady in the paper products and rubber/plastics sectors, while chemicals manufacturing saw employment rise 6 percent, according to MNI.

Manufacturers' News reports Northwest Colorado saw the largest decline in manufacturing employment, down 3.8 percent, and is currently home to 57,385 of the state's industrial jobs. Industrial employment in Northeast Colorado declined 2.3 percent and currently accounts for 65 percent of the state's industrial employment or 132,473 jobs. Industrial employment declined 1.4 percent in Southwest Colorado, with the region currently home to 7,222 manufacturing jobs. The Southeast region of the state lost 1.3 percent of its manufacturing jobs, and is currently home to 5,923 industrial workers.

MNI's city data shows Denver is the state's top city for manufacturing employment, home to 41,185 jobs, down 3.2 percent over the year. Second-ranked Colorado Springs accounts for 18,844 jobs, with employment down 7.1 percent over the past 12 months. Englewood is home to 14,327 industrial jobs, down 10.6 percent over the year. Boulder accounts for 9,677 jobs, with no significant change reported over the year, while Littleton is home to 9,472, down 1.5 percent over the past 12 months.