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Industrial employment in Nebraska fell just 1 percent over the past 12 months according to the 2011 Nebraska Manufacturers Register, an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers’ News Inc. MNI reports Nebraska lost 1,343 industrial jobs between June 2009 and June 2010, a much smaller loss than reported for the state by MNI over the 2008-2009 survey period.
Manufacturers’ News reports Nebraska is now home to 2,977 manufacturers employing 121,894 workers.
“Nebraska 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.”
Food products manufacturing was one of the few sectors to gain jobs over the year and remains the state’s top sector by industrial employment with 37,083 jobs, up 2.6 percent. Chemicals manufacturing also posted a gain of 4.5 percent. Other recent bright spots for the state include the opening of a new Archer Daniels Midland Company ethanol plant in Columbus and the possible opening of a TPI Composites wind turbine plant in Grand Island.
Industrial machinery and equipment ranks as the state’s second-largest sector with 12,945 jobs, down 3.4 percent, while third-ranked fabricated metal accounts for 10,087 jobs, with no significant change posted over the past 12 months.
The lumber and wood sector saw the worst drop in employment, down 11.4 percent over the past 12 months due partially to the closure of Armstrong Cabinets in Auburn. Electronics manufacturing declined 10.2 percent, following layoffs at EGS Electrical Group, among others, while transportation equipment fell 9.7 percent due partially to the closure of Tenneco’s plant in Cozad. Paper products declined 7.3 percent; rubber/plastics were down 5.7 percent and textiles/apparel fell 4.8 percent.
Manufacturers’ News reports Southeast Nebraska accounts for the largest share of the state’s industrial employment with 85,105 jobs, with no significant change reported over the year. Northeast Nebraska accounts for 26,213 industrial jobs, down 2.3 percent, while Southwest Nebraska accounts for 7,594, down the most at 7.4 percent over the past 12 months. Northwest Nebraska accounts for 2,982 industrial jobs, down 3.6 percent over the year.
MNI’s city data shows Omaha is Nebraska’s top city for manufacturing employment, home to 34,056 jobs, with the city posting a gain of 2.8 percent over the year. Second-ranked Lincoln accounts for 17,508 jobs, with employment down 2.7 percent. Grand Island is home to 8,235 industrial jobs, up 6.6 percent over the year, while Columbus accounts for 5,257 jobs, down 4.7 percent over the past 12 months. Dakota City is home to 3,670, with no significant change reported over the year.