Industrial employment in Oklahoma fell 1.5 percent over the past 12 months according to the 2010 Oklahoma Manufacturers Register, an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers' News Inc. MNI reports Oklahoma lost 3,171 industrial jobs and 210 manufacturers between July 2009 and July 2010, a significantly smaller employment loss than the decrease of 9,650 reported by MNI for the 2008-2009 survey period.
Manufacturers' News reports Oklahoma is now home to 5,853 manufacturers employing 201,374 workers.
"Decreased demand continues to affect Oklahoma's manufacturing sector," says Tom Dubin, president of the Evanston, Ill.-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. "However we're definitely seeing fewer job losses than we did a year ago and the state's favorable business climate continues to help improve the outlook."
Sectors related to housing and construction saw some of the worst drops in employment with jobs in stone/clay/glass down 8.7 percent; furniture/fixtures down 8.1 percent and lumber/wood down 6.2 percent. Other sectors that lost jobs included rubber and plastics, down 4.9 percent; textiles/apparel down 4.7 percent; and printing/publishing, down 1.6 percent. Employment was steady in the primary metals sector, while jobs in both chemicals manufacturing and medical instruments were up 3.2 percent
MNI reports industrial machinery and equipment remains the state's largest industrial sector by employment with 34,083 jobs, down 1.4 percent over the past 12 months. Second-ranked oil and gas extraction accounts for 30,140, up 8.3 percent, while third-ranked fabricated metals accounts for 23,569, down 4.2 percent.
Companies shutting down include glassmaker Zeledyne LLC, which closed its Tulsa plant in March; a previously idled International Paper Company facility that was shuttered in Valliant; and Shaw Tulsa Fabricators, which closed its pipe fabricating plant.
Bright spots for the state include the planned opening of Dorada Foods at the previously idled Tyson Foods plant in Oklahoma City; the opening of gun manufacturer Loki Weapons Systems in the formerly shuttered Wrangler Jeans plant in Coalgate; and the opening of a Flanders Corporation facility in a former Best Buy location in Ardmore, which will manufacture air filters.
Manufacturers' News reports Northeast Oklahoma experienced the majority of the state's losses, down 3,153 jobs or 3.2 percent over the year. The Northeast region currently accounts for 93,254 industrial jobs – the most in the state. Northwest Oklahoma accounts for 63,583 industrial jobs, with no significant change reported over the year, while Southwest Oklahoma saw jobs decline just a half percent and is currently home to 24,847 manufacturing workers. Southeast Oklahoma accounts for 19,690 industrial jobs, virtually unchanged from a year ago.
MNI's city data shows Tulsa is Oklahoma's top city for manufacturing employment, home to 46,124 jobs, down 3.5 percent over the year. Second-ranked Oklahoma City accounts for 41,934 jobs, with no significant change reported over the year. Broken Arrow is home to 5,598 industrial jobs, down 5 percent, while Ponca City accounts for 4,435 jobs, down 1 percent. Enid is home to 4,159, down 2.2 percent over the past 12 months.