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Industrial employment in Minnesota fell 6.4 percent over the past 24 months according to the 2010 Minnesota Manufacturers Register, an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers' News Inc. MNI reports Minnesota lost 31,185 manufacturing jobs over the past two years, with 8,745 jobs lost between September 2007 and September 2008 and 23,217 industrial jobs from 2008 to September of this year.
Manufacturers' News reports Minnesota is now home to 10,192 manufacturers employing 471,621 workers, compared to a high of 548,061 industrial workers recorded by MNI in 2000. Manufacturing jobs have declined in the state since then, dropping 76,440 jobs, or 14 percent. The loss of 23,000 manufacturing jobs over the past year marks the sharpest decline MNI has ever reported in the 25 years it has been tracking the state's industry, and represents nearly a third of all industrial jobs lost since 2000.
"As with the entire nation, the recession continues to hit Minnesota's core sectors, while the faltering housing market has affected industries such as wood products, furniture and building products," says Tom Dubin, president of the Evanston, Ill.-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912.
Employment in the transportation sector experienced the sharpest decline, down 18.5 percent over the past 24 months, following layoffs at Lund Boat Company, Glastron Boats and snowmobile maker Arctic Cat, among others.
MNI reports industrial machinery and equipment manufacturing is Minnesota's largest industrial sector by employment with 70,255 jobs, down 5.1 percent over two years. Second-ranked food products manufacturing accounts for 64,611 jobs, with no significant change reported over the two-year period, while third-ranked printing/publishing accounts for 52,001 industrial jobs, down 10.8 percent.
Most other sectors in Minnesota lost jobs within the past 24 months and included lumber/wood, down 14.9 percent; stone/clay/glass, down 13.5 percent; textiles/apparel, down 13 percent; rubber/plastics, down 10.4 percent; primary metals, down 9.8 percent; paper products, down 8.9 percent; electronics, down 8.3 percent; fabricated metals, down 8 percent; and furniture/fixtures, down 7.7 percent. The chemicals/allied products sector was the only one to gain jobs, up 2.3 percent over the past two years.
Despite the losses, some bright spots have emerged recently including Finland-based Moventas' decision to locate a new production facility in Faribault, which will assemble and test wind turbine gears.
According to the industrial directory, East Central Minnesota accounts for the largest share of the state's industrial employment with 248,661 manufacturing jobs, down 12.8 percent over the past 24 months. Southeast Minnesota ranks second at 110,157 manufacturing jobs, down 7.5 percent over two years. The West Central region of the state accounts for 39,637 jobs, down 4.2 percent, while the Southwest accounts for 35,902 jobs, down 6.8 percent. Northeast Minnesota is home to 20,107 industrial jobs, down 13.4 percent, while the Northwest is home to 17,157 jobs, down 7.7 percent.
MNI's city data shows Minneapolis is Minnesota's top city for manufacturing employment, with 60,853 jobs, down 7.5 percent over the past 24 months. St. Paul ranks second with 45,305 jobs, down 4.9 percent over two years. Eden Prairie is home to 13,490 industrial jobs, down 11.1 percent, while Eagan accounts for 12,988 jobs, up a half percent over the past 24 months. Rochester industrial jobs dropped 19.4 percent, with the city currently home to 11,146 jobs.