Manufacturing employment in Minnesota fell 6.8 percent over the past two years, according to the 2011 Minnesota Manufacturers Register, an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers’ News Inc. MNI reports Minnesota lost 34,086 manufacturing jobs and 766 manufacturers between September 2008 and September 2010.

Manufacturers’ News reports Minnesota is now home to 9,895 manufacturers employing 460,752 workers.

“Decreased demand continues to affect Minnesota’s manufacturing sector,” says Tom Dubin, president of the Evanston, Ill.-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. “But losses have definitely slowed over the past year, and the state’s educated workforce and investment in emerging technologies continues to improve the outlook.”

Bright spots for the state included expansions at several facilities such as Goodrich Corporation’s Sensors and Integrated Systems in Burnsville; Excel Plastics LLC in Fergus Falls; biopharmaceutical maker ATMI Inc. in Bloomington; and SAGE Electrochromics in Faribault, which will more than double its workforce to produce electronically tintable glass for energy efficient windows.

MNI reports industrial machinery and equipment manufacturing remains Minnesota’s largest industrial sector by employment with 67,715 jobs, down 7.4 percent over two years, following the closure of McLean Cooling Technology and layoffs at Schwing American, among others. Second-ranked food products manufacturing accounts for 66,245 jobs, down 1.6 percent over the two-year period, while third-ranked printing/publishing accounts for 50,135 industrial jobs, down 11.2 percent.

Most other sectors in Minnesota lost jobs within the past 24 months and included primary metals, down 18.2 percent, due partially to the closures of two Intermet Corporation plants. Transportation equipment declined 16.9 percent, while lumber/wood fell 16.7 percent, following layoffs at Anderson Corp, among others. Textiles/apparel declined 14.6 percent; stone/clay/glass was down 14.2 percent; and electronics fell 11.5 percent, after the closure of Celestica Inc., among others. The chemicals/allied products sector increased employment by 1 percent over the past two years, according to MNI.

According to the industrial directory, East Central Minnesota accounts for the largest share of the state’s industrial employment with 238,463 manufacturing jobs, down 8.4 percent over the past 24 months. Southeast Minnesota ranks second at 110,454 manufacturing jobs, down 3.9 percent over two years. The West Central region of the state accounts for 39,656 jobs, down 3.3 percent, while the Southwest accounts for 35,424 jobs, down 7.8 percent. Northeast Minnesota is home to 19,997 industrial jobs, down 9.5 percent, while the Northwest is home to 16,758 jobs, down 5.9 percent.

MNI’s city data shows Minneapolis remains Minnesota’s top city for manufacturing employment, with 57,668 jobs, down 8.2 percent over the past 24 months. St. Paul ranks second with 42,137 jobs, down 7.4 percent over two years. Eden Prairie is home to 13,468 industrial jobs, down 14.7 percent, while Eagan accounts for 12,201 jobs, down 5.8 percent over the past 24 months. Rochester industrial jobs dropped 13.8 percent, with the city currently home to 11,102 jobs.