South Dakota Manufacturing Jobs Rise for Fifth Straight Year

Noria news wires

South Dakota manufacturing employment climbed for a fifth straight year, according to the 2016 South Dakota Manufacturers Register, an industrial database and directory published by Manufacturers' News Inc. (MNI).

MNI reports South Dakota gained 1,699 manufacturing jobs from December 2014 to December 2015 and is now home to 1,330 manufacturers employing 52,453 workers.

"South Dakota has wide-ranging appeal for manufacturers, ranging from its favorable business environment to its abundant natural resources, and is one of the only states in the nation to have completely recovered from the recession in terms of manufacturing employment," says Tom Dubin, MNI president. "However, like much of the nation, South Dakota manufacturers struggle to find skilled workers."

Industrial employment in South Dakota plunged 10 percent from 2007-2010, but the state has so far added 6,391 industrial jobs or 14 percent since December 2010, recovering all jobs lost during the recession.

South Dakota's top industries all posted gains over the survey period. Food processing, the state's largest sector by employment, climbed 3.1 percent over the year to 10,756 jobs, following the establishment of Bel Brand's massive cheese plant in Brookings. Employment in the industry is expected to climb as New Angus LLC ramps up hiring at its new DemKota Ranch Beef Plant in Aberdeen, as well as Seaboard and Trimph Foods' planned joint venture to open a new pork processing plant in Sioux City.

Second-ranked industrial machinery posted a 2.7-percent increase and now employs 7,742 people, while employment in third-ranked fabricated metals manufacturing rose 5.5 percent to 4,355 jobs.

Employment gains were also recorded for most other South Dakota industries, including primary metals, transportation equipment, chemicals and lumber/wood.

Only two South Dakota industries suffered decreases in employment: stone/clay/glass, which declined 5 percent, and printing/publishing, down 1.8 percent.

Industrial locations announcing closures in South Dakota included Minnesota Rubber and Plastics, which shuttered its Watertown site, and motorcycle maker Lehman Trikes in Spearfish.

Sioux Falls is South Dakota's top city by manufacturing employment, accounting for 13,439 of the state's industrial jobs. Second-ranked Brookings added 5 percent to its industrial workforce, which now numbers 4,680. Factory employment in Watertown remained steady at 3,754, but fell 2.4 percent in Rapid City to 3,483 jobs.

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