Wisconsin's Manufacturing Employment Remained Steady Over Past Year

Industrial employment in Wisconsin remained virtually unchanged over the past twelve months according to the 2012 Wisconsin Manufacturers Register®, an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers' News, Inc. (MNI) Evanston, IL. MNI reports Wisconsin lost just 1,078 industrial jobs or less than one percent between June 2010 and June 2011, in sharp contrast to the 2.5% drop recorded by MNI over the 2009-2010 survey period, and the 5% lost between June 2008 and June 2009.

Manufacturers' News reports Wisconsin is now home to 11,679 manufacturers employing 572,999 workers.

"The recovery is gaining momentum in Wisconsin and across the U.S.," says Tom Dubin, President of the Evanston, IL-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. "Wisconsin maintains a stronghold in the food products industry and its educated workforce and lower taxes than its neighbors have been a draw for a variety of enterprises."

MNI reports Wisconsin's largest manufacturing sectors by employment gained jobs over the year. Employment in industrial machinery and equipment increased a half percent over the survey period, with the top-ranked sector accounting for 100,448 jobs. Second-ranked food products accounts for 66,262 jobs, up 2.1%, while fabricated metals represent 65,568 of the state's industrial jobs, up 1.1%.

Bright spots for the state included the openings of CalStar Products' new green brick plant in Caledonia and Thomas Magnete LLC's plant in Brookfield, which will manufacture solenoids and control valves for vehicles. Mercury Marine expanded its facility in Fond Du Lac; Wacker Neuson expanded its construction equipment plant in Menomonee Falls; and Genencor International announced an expansion of their facility in Beloit that manufactures industrial enzymes.  

Employment losses were seen in transportation equipment , down 4.4%; printing/publishing, down 4.2%; lumber/wood, down 2.9%; textiles/apparel, down 2.5%; and furniture/fixtures, down 1.9%. Employment was unchanged in chemicals; stone/clay/glass; primary metals; and paper products, while gains were seen in rubber/plastics, up 1.2%.

Companies with locations closing down included Fiskars, which closed its Sauk City facility, moving production to Mississippi; and automotive supplier Bourns Inc., which shuttered its Janesville plant. Other auto plants with locations seeing closures included Charter Automotive in Milwaukee and Chrysler's Kenosha plant.

Manufacturers' News reports Southeast Wisconsin accounts for over half of the state's industrial employment, with 309,518 jobs, and Central Wisconsin accounts for 179,038. Employment held steady in both regions. Southwest Wisconsin accounts for 48,464 industrial jobs, down a half percent, while Northern Wisconsin saw a slight gain of 55 jobs and currently accounts for 35,979 manufacturing workers.

MNI's city data shows Milwaukee is Wisconsin's top city for manufacturing employment, home to 55,044 jobs, down 1% over the year. Second-ranked Green Bay accounts for 23,036 jobs, up 1.7%. Madison is home to 18,239 industrial jobs, up 1% over the year, while industrial employment in Waukesha declined 2.7% over the survey year, and is currently home to 15,719 manufacturing jobs. Appleton accounts for 13,524 jobs, down 1% over the past twelve months.

For more information, visit: www.manufacturersnews.com

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