Industrial employment in Indiana fell 6.9 percent over the past 12 months according to the 2010 Indiana Manufacturers Directory, an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers’ News Inc. MNI reports Indiana lost 39,441 industrial jobs between March 2009 and March 2010, a smaller loss compared to the 51,000 manufacturing jobs MNI reported lost in the 2008-2009 survey period.
Manufacturers’ News reports Indiana is now home to 10,253 manufacturers employing 571,040 workers.
“The recession, combined with a general slowdown in U.S. automobile manufacturing, contributed to the employment decline,” said Tom Dubin, president of Manufacturers’ News. “But Indiana industry has fared better than in neighboring states, and is poised to recover when demand finally picks up for durable and nondurable goods.”
The transportation equipment sector saw one of the largest declines in employment, down 10.2 percent over the year, after losing 15 percent over MNI’s 2008-2009 survey period. The sector currently accounts for 81,419 industrial jobs. Transportation equipment manufacturers shedding jobs or closing down over the year included Wabash National Corporation, Raytheon, Metaldyne Corporation, Meridian Automotive Systems, Columbus Components Group and Autoliv, among others.
The transportation equipment sector may be poised for a recovery, however, with planned expansions of several facilities including the GM Powertrain Division in Bedford, RV manufacturer Dometic LLC, Lear Corp., Heartland Recreational Vehicles, Morris Manufacturing, Transwheel Corporation and Riverside Travel Trailer. In addition, fuel-efficient RV manufacturer Earthbound RV, LLC, plans to open a plant in Marion and Vixen Composites, LLC, a manufacturer of structural panels for the RV industry, plans to open a facility in Elkhart.
Industrial machinery and equipment ranks as the state’s second largest manufacturing sector by employment, with 72,261 industrial workers, down 7.8 percent over the year. Third-ranked fabricated metal accounts for 57,640 industrial jobs, down 11 percent over the year.
MNI reports other sectors that lost jobs over the past 12 months included electronics, down 10.7 percent; furniture/fixtures, down 7.6 percent; stone/clay/glass, down 6.7 percent; rubber/plastics, down 6.4 percent; textiles/apparel, down 6.5 percent; lumber/wood, down 6.2 percent; primary metals, down 6 percent; paper products, down 4.8 percent; printing/publishing, down 2.7 percent and chemicals, down 1 percent. Food products manufacturing was a rare bright spot, up 1 percent.
MNI reports industrial jobs declined the most in Northeast Indiana, down 8.6 percent over the year, with the region currently accounting for 142,591 jobs. The East Central region of the state saw manufacturing jobs fall 7.8 percent, but still accounts for the most jobs in the state with 152,302 industrial workers. Factory employment fell 6.7 percent in West Central Indiana, with the region home to 49,571 industrial jobs, while Southeast Indiana saw a drop of 5.7 percent, currently home to 63,417. Northwest Indiana accounts for 92,612 industrial jobs, down 3.9 percent, and Southwest Indiana accounts for 70,547, down 3.4 percent.
Indianapolis remains the state’s top city by industrial employment with 78,284 manufacturing jobs, down 8.5 percent over the year. Fort Wayne saw employment decrease 4.1 percent and is currently home to 25,651 industrial workers. Elkhart accounts for 23,487 industrial jobs, down 12.9 percent, while Evansville accounts for 18,800, with no significant change reported over the year. Fifth-ranked Columbus saw jobs drop 6.2 percent and currently accounts for 17,477 industrial jobs.