Industrial employment in North Carolina rose 1.3 percent in 2012 according to the 2013 North Carolina Manufacturers Register published by Manufacturers’ News Inc. (MNI). MNI reports North Carolina gained 7,319 manufacturing jobs from January 2012 to January 2013, the first notable gain recorded for the state in nearly a decade, and is now home to 10,208 manufacturers employing 565,784 workers.

"North Carolina’s manufacturing sector continues to improve," says Tom Dubin, president of MNI. "The state's educated workforce, low business costs and its reputation as a center for innovation continue to be a draw for new business."

Several manufacturing companies have announced openings and expansions in North Carolina including computer giant Lenovo, which plans to locate its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Whitsett, and Herbalife, which expects to open a facility in Winston Salem’s previously shuttered Dell facility. Ashley Furniture will also break ground on a new plant in Davie.

Manufacturing locations in North Carolina that have announced closures included Gold Signature Foods in Monroe, Rock-Tenn in Shelby, Protective Products Enterprises in St. Pauls and TT Electronics in Boone.

Textiles/apparel, which historically has been North Carolina’s largest sector by manufacturing employment, now accounts for 60,701 jobs, second to industrial machinery and equipment, which ranks first in the state at 64,262 jobs. Employment in food products currently accounts for 59,059 jobs.

Other sectors to gain jobs included instruments/related products, transportation equipment, chemicals, electronics and furniture/fixtures. Losses were seen in primary metals, lumber/wood, printing/publishing, paper products and stone/clay/glass.

MNI’s city data shows Charlotte remains North Carolina’s top city for manufacturing employment with 43,160 jobs. Greensboro ranks second with 29,817 jobs, while Research Triangle Park accounts for 21,484 industrial jobs.

For more information, visit www.manufacturersnews.com.