Industrial employment in Missouri fell 2 percent over the past 12 months according to the 2011 Missouri Manufacturers Register, an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers' News Inc. MNI reports Missouri lost 7,960 industrial jobs and 126 manufacturers between August 2009 and August 2010, a much smaller loss than reported by MNI for the 2008-2009 survey period.
Manufacturers' News reports Missouri is now home to 8,524 manufacturers employing 371,621 workers.
"The recession continues to affect Missouri's manufacturing sector, particularly industrial machinery and industries reliant on the housing market. But we're definitely seeing fewer job losses than we did a year ago," says Tom Dubin, president of the Evanston, Ill.-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912.
Food products manufacturing continues to top the list for industrial sectors employing the most in the state, after overtaking transportation equipment in recent years. The food products sector currently accounts for 52,219 industrial jobs, up 175 jobs over the past 12 months.
Other bright spots for the state include the opening of Agrium Advanced Technologies' fertilizer plant near New Madrid, ME Bio Energy's opening of a biofuel plant in Lilbourn, and the planned expansion of Sonoco Products Company in Hazelwood.
Second-ranked transportation equipment accounts for 43,161 jobs, down 4.9 percent over the year, following layoffs at GM's Wentzville plant, Harley-Davidson, and the closure of Tracker Marine in Bolivar, among others. Industrial machinery and equipment comes in third with 42,901 jobs, with no significant change reported over the year.
Other industrial sectors in Missouri that lost jobs within the past year included primary metals, down 6.9 percent, due partially to the closure of Pace Industries in Monroe City. Textiles/apparel declined 5.7 percent; paper products were down 3.8 percent; electronics were down 3.7 percent; and furniture/fixtures, also were down 3.7 percent.
Manufacturers' News reports Northeast Missouri saw the largest drop in employment, down 6.1 percent over the year with the region currently accounting for 27,203 jobs. Manufacturing employment declined 3.9 percent in South Central Missouri, with the region currently home to 18,008 jobs. Southwest Missouri suffered a 3.2 percent drop in manufacturing employment with 53,203 currently employed in the region. Southeast Missouri saw jobs drop 2.7 percent, and currently accounts for 22,581, while the Northwest is home to 94,450, down 1.7 percent. East Central Missouri saw the smallest decline in manufacturing jobs, down 1.2 percent, and accounts for the largest share of the state's industrial employment with 156,176 jobs.
MNI's city data shows three out of five of Missouri's largest manufacturing cities saw employment increases over the year. St. Louis accounts for the largest share of industrial employment with 82,791 jobs, down 2 percent over the past 12 months. Second-ranked Kansas City accounts for 40,934, down 2.5 percent. Springfield saw jobs increase by 147, and is currently home to the third most at 17,043. Manufacturing employment in fourth-ranked St. Joseph increased 1.4 percent, with the city currently accounting for 10,047 jobs. Fifth-ranked Joplin increased industrial employment by 59, currently accounting for 8,094 jobs.