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Industrial employment in North Dakota fell 2.8 percent over the past 12 months according to the 2011 North Dakota Manufacturers Register, an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers’ News Inc. MNI reports North Dakota lost 1,028 industrial jobs between April 2009 and April 2010.
Manufacturers’ News reports North Dakota is now home to 1,247 manufacturers employing 35,562 workers.
“North Dakota hasn’t been hit as hard as many other states, partially because of its strong agricultural base,” says Tom Dubin, president of Manufacturers’ News. “Fortunately, land cannot be outsourced. But the recession has taken its toll on other industrial sectors, particularly those dependent on the housing market.”
Industrial machinery and equipment remains North Dakota’s largest industrial sector by employment, accounting for 6,048 of the state’s jobs, down 5.6 percent over the year, following the closure of Bobcat’s Bismarck plant and layoffs at Fargo’s Case New Holland plant and DMI Industries, among others. Food products ranks second with 5,592 industrial jobs, down 4.4 percent. Fabricated metal ranks as the state’s third-largest manufacturing sector with 3,119 of the state’s industrial jobs, down 11.7 percent over the past 12 months.
MNI reports other industrial sectors that lost jobs over the past year included furniture/fixtures, down 22.3 percent; transportation equipment, down 16.1 percent; stone/clay/glass, down 11 percent; chemicals, down 10.4 percent; paper products, down 8.9 percent; and electronics, down 1.6 percent. Sectors that gained jobs included primary metals, up 11.4 percent; rubber/plastics, up 5.5 percent; printing/publishing, up 3.6 percent; and lumber/wood, up 2.4 percent. Textiles/apparel posted no significant employment change, according to MNI.
Bright spots for the state included the opening of a new Dakota Prairie and Organic Flour Company flour mill in Harvey, the opening of ComDel Innovations, located at Imation Corp’s former location in Wahpeton, and the planned opening of a canola processing plant in Minot by Toronto-based Bio-Extraction Inc.
MNI reports the Southeast region of North Dakota accounts for the most industrial employment, with 20,581 industrial jobs, down 4.8 percent over the year. The Northeast region is home to 5,279 industrial workers, down 9.7 percent over the past 12 months. The Southwest is home to 4,991, up 3.4 percent, while the Northwest accounts for 4,711, up 9.8 percent over the past year.
Fargo remains the state’s top city by industrial employment, accounting for 9,554 manufacturing jobs, up 1.6 percent over the past 12 months. Williston accounts for 2,331 industrial jobs, up 22.1 percent. Grand Forks saw employment decrease 11.6 percent, and is currently home to 2,221 industrial workers, while West Fargo accounts for 1,949, with no significant change reported over the year. Bismarck accounts for 1,949, down 4.5 percent.