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Alabama Industrial Jobs Fall 6.8 Percent

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alabamaflag_160x120Industrial employment in Alabama fell 6.8 percent over the past 12 months, according to the 2010 Alabama Manufacturers Register, an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers’ News Inc.

According to the report, Alabama lost 21,132 industrial jobs and 306 manufacturers between March 2009 and March 2010, which is the sharpest decline MNI has ever reported in the twenty years it has been tracking the state’s industry.

Manufacturers’ News reports Alabama is now home to 5,751 manufacturers employing 308,772 workers.

“It’s a perfect storm of negative conditions,” says Tom Dubin, President of the Evanston, IL-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. “The country has suffered deep losses in manufacturing employment due to automation and technology, outsourcing and the recession, while the faltering housing market has affected industries such as wood products, furniture and building products.”

According to MNI, the furniture/fixtures sector saw the worst decline in employment, down 16.3 percent, due partially to the closure of outdoor furniture manufacturer Meadowcraft, Inc. The lumber/wood sector declined 11.2 percent, following the closure of Chapman Forest Products, among others.

MNI reports food products manufacturing has overtaken transportation equipment as the state’s largest industrial sector by employment, with 36,476 jobs, down 2.2 percent over the year. Transportation equipment is No. 2 after losing 10.7% of its employment, and currently accounts for 27,372 industrial jobs.

According to MNI, sectors that lost jobs over the past twelve months included industrial machinery and equipment down 14.3 percent; printing/publishing down 11 percent; textiles/apparel down 8 percent; primary metals down 7.1 percent; stone/clay/glass down 6.5 percent; paper products down 4.7 percent and rubber/plastics down 4.5 percent.

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Authored by: Harrison Barnes