Industrial employment in Indiana increased by almost 1 percent over the past 12 months, according to the 2012 Indiana Manufacturers Directory, a manufacturers’ directory published by Manufacturers' News Inc. (MNI). MNI reports Indiana gained 5,184 industrial jobs between March 2011 and March 2012, and is now home to 9,751 manufacturers employing 555,578 workers.

"Following several years of job losses, Indiana is finally seeing a renaissance in its manufacturing sector," says Tom Dubin, president of Manufacturers' News Inc. "The state's friendly business environment and solid infrastructure have been a draw for a variety of enterprises, particularly in the auto sector."

Bright spots for the state included Alcoa's plans to open a new aluminum plant near Lafayette, the expansion of spool-molder Mossberg Industries in Garrett, ConAgra's plans to expand its popcorn plant in Rensselaer, the expansion of Belstra Milling's animal feed plant in DeMotte and the opening of Progress Rail's locomotive manufacturing plant in Muncie.

In addition, Honda has added a second shift at its Greensburg facility, Toyota will expand production at its plant in Princeton, auto-supplier Flex N Gate is expanding its Covington factory, Subaru plans to expand production at its location in Lafayette and Busche Enterprise will expand its factory in Albion.

MNI reports Indiana's three largest industrial sectors by employment reported gains in jobs over the survey period. Transportation equipment manufacturing remains Indiana's largest industrial sector by employment with 83,869 jobs, up 2.3 percent over the year. Industrial machinery and equipment ranks second with 69,757 jobs, up 1.9 percent. Third-ranked fabricated metals account for 54,804 jobs, up 1/2 percent over the past 12 months.

Other sectors that gained jobs over the past year included furniture/fixtures, up 3.7 percent; primary metals, up 1.6 percent; food products, up 1.1 percent; rubber/plastics, up 1/2 percent; and electronics, also up 1/2 percent. Losses were seen in lumber/wood, down 6.1 percent; stone/clay/glass, down 5.5 percent; textiles/apparel, down 3.3 percent; printing/publishing, down 2.8 percent; and paper products, down 1 percent.

Industrial locations closing in Indiana included Med Tech Ambulance Corp.'s manufacturing plant in Goshen, Really Cool Foods' Cambridge City facility, Workhorse Custom Chassis' Union City plant, Printpack Inc.'s Greensburg factory, Dietrich Metal Framing's steel plant in Hammond and Nidec Motor Corp.'s Frankfort plant.

The east-central region of Indiana accounts for the most industrial employment in the state with 146,318 jobs, down 1/2 percent over the past 12 months. Northeast Indiana is home to 141,465 industrial workers, up 1 percent, while the northwest region accounts for 89,477 jobs, down 1.3 percent. Southwest Indiana saw manufacturing employment increase 5.8 percent and represents 70,831 of the state's jobs, while jobs increased 1/2 percent in Southeast Indiana, with the region currently home to 56,593 industrial workers. West-central Indiana accounts for 50,894 manufacturing jobs, up 3.1 percent.

Indianapolis remains the state's top city by industrial employment with 74,655 manufacturing jobs. Fort Wayne accounts for 25,186 jobs, which was virtually unchanged from a year ago. Elkhart saw jobs increase 1.7 percent and is currently home to 22,518 industrial workers, while Evansville accounts for 17,239 of the state's jobs, up 1.5 percent. Fifth-ranked Lafayette accounts for 14,274 jobs, up 3.2 percent.

For more information, visit www.manufacturersnews.com.