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Industrial employment in North Carolina fell 8.2 percent over the past 12 months according to the 2010 North Carolina Manufacturers Register, an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers' News Inc. MNI reports North Carolina lost 51,831 industrial jobs between January 2009 and January 2010, the sharpest decline MNI has ever reported in the 16 years it has been tracking the state's industry.
Manufacturers' News reports North Carolina is now home to 10,695 manufacturers employing 581,685 workers.
"North Carolina has suffered deep losses in manufacturing employment due to automation and technology, outsourcing of jobs from its core sectors, and the recession," says Tom Dubin, president of Manufacturers' News. "However, the state's continued investment in creating business incentives has started to make a difference."
Bright spots over the year included Sanderson Farms' planned opening of a 1,500-worker poultry plant, the expected opening of an ACW Technology facility, which will employ 155 to assemble circuit boards, and the planned expansion of Richmond Specialty Yarns in Richmond County. Other companies expected to expand or start up in the state include North American Aerodynamics, Central States Manufacturing Inc., Alpla Inc. and Wilbert Plastics Services.
Textiles/apparel remains the state's largest industrial sector by employment with 66,999 jobs, down 14 percent over the year. Industrial machinery and equipment ranks second with 63,683 jobs, down 3.8 percent. Third-ranked food products accounts for 58,806 jobs and was the only sector to gain jobs, up 2.1 percent over the year with the expansions of poultry processor Crestwood Farms and prepared foods maker Reser's fine foods.
According to MNI, the transportation equipment sector saw the worst decline in employment, down 15 percent, following layoffs at three Daimler Trucks facilities and layoffs at Hatteras Yachts, among others.
MNI reports other sectors losing jobs over the past 12 months included lumber/wood, down 13.8 percent; electronics, down 13.1 percent; primary metals, down 10.6 percent; furniture/fixtures, down 9.9 percent; paper products, down 6.8 percent; fabricated metals, down 6.7 percent; stone/clay/glass, down 6.5 percent; printing/publishing, down 6.3 percent; rubber/plastics, down 6.2 percent; and chemicals, down 2 percent.
The Southwest region of North Carolina saw the largest decline in manufacturing employment, down 9.4 percent, and now accounts for 111,024 of the state's industrial jobs. The Northwest region accounts for the largest share of the state's industrial employment with 259,112 jobs, down 8.3 percent over the past 12 months. The Northeast accounts for the second most with 145,219 jobs, down 6.6 percent, while the Southeast represents 66,330 jobs, down 9 percent over the year.
Charlotte remains the state's top city by industrial employment with 41,006 manufacturing jobs, down 8.4 percent over the year. Greensboro accounts for 29,393 jobs, down 4.7 percent. Research Triangle Park saw employment decrease 8.4 percent and is currently home to 21,202 industrial workers, while Winston-Salem accounts for 18,002 of the state's jobs, down 4.7 percent over the year. Fifth-ranked High Point accounts for 15,614 jobs, down 7.6 percent over the past 12 months.