Manufacturing employment in Wyoming fell 3.8 percent over the past two years according to the 2011 Wyoming Manufacturers Directory, an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers' News Inc. MNI reports Wyoming lost 1,317 industrial jobs and 92 manufacturers between September 2008 and September 2010 – the first loss MNI has logged for the state after reporting an increase of 10.6 percent between September 2005 and September 2008.

Manufacturers' News reports Wyoming is now home to 1,244 manufacturers employing 32,742 workers.

"Decreased demand has had a negative impact on Wyoming's manufacturing sector," says Tom Dubin, president of the Evanston, Ill.-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. "But Wyoming's losses are less severe than those seen in most other states due to its plentiful natural resources and favorable business climate."

Bright spots for the state included the announcement that Colorado-based vacuum technologies firm Vacutech will open a facility in Sheridan; the planned expansion of firearms maker A-Square; the expansion of the Jim Bridger Coal Mine in Rock Springs; and Cameco Resources, Inc's planned uranium mining project near Glenrock.

MNI reports oil and gas extraction remains Wyoming's largest industrial sector by employment with 9,744 jobs, virtually unchanged over the two-year period. Coal mining ranks second in the state with 5,903 jobs, up 28 percent over the past 24 months, while third-ranked industrial machinery and equipment saw a decline of 6.4 percent, due partially to the closure of Weatherford International's Powell facility. Industrial machinery and equipment currently accounts for 3,699 of Wyoming's industrial jobs.

Most other sectors in Wyoming lost jobs within the past 24 months and included primary metals, down 24 percent, following the shuttering of WL Plastics in Gillette, among others. Textiles/apparel declined 18.2 percent; fabricated metals were down 14.8 percent; rubber/plastics, down 14.6 percent; transportation equipment, down 10.3 percent and lumber/wood fell 9.3 percent, due partially to the closure of Big Horn Lumber in Laramie. Gains included chemicals, up 2.2 percent, and electronics, up 3.8 percent.

MNI's city data shows Gillette remains Wyoming's top city for industrial employment, with 6,055 jobs, up 7.4 percent over the past 24 months. Casper ranks second with 4,057 jobs, down 16 percent over two years. Wright is home to 2,946 industrial jobs, down 12.1 percent, while Rock Springs accounts for 2,474 jobs, with no significant change reported over the past 24 months. Cheyenne industrial jobs dropped 8.9 percent, with the city currently home to 1,901 jobs.