ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — Industrial employment in Mississippi increased by about a half percent over the past 12 months, according to the 2012 Mississippi Manufacturers Register, an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers’ News Inc. (MNI) of Evanston, Ill.
MNI reports Mississippi gained 694 industrial jobs between February 2011 and February 2012. Mississippi is now home to 3,019 manufacturers employing 171,615 workers.
Tom Dubin, president of the MNI, said, “The state’s friendly business environment has been a draw for a variety of enterprises, particularly in the auto sector.”
Bright spots for the state include: the opening of Toyota’s new assembly plant in Blue Springs; Olin Corp.’s establishment of its new ammunition manufacturing facility in Oxford; the opening of Stion’s solar panel plant in Hattiesburg; and, the expansion of Saf-T-Cart’s storage products facility in Clarksdale. Cooper Tire and Rubber Company is expanding its Tupelo facility and SABIC Innovative Plastics opened a new polypropylene plant in Bay St. Louis.
According to MNI, transportation equipment has overtaken food products as the state’s largest industrial sector by employment with 24,143 manufacturing jobs, up 3.3 percent over the past twelve months. Second-ranked food products manufacturing accounts for 22,310 jobs, down 6.9 percent, following the closure of Forest Packing Company in Forest, among others. Industrial machinery and equipment ranks third with 19,565 jobs, up 4.2 percent.
MNI reports other sectors that gained jobs included primary metals, up 12 percent; rubber/plastics, up 11.8 percent; and furniture/fixtures, up 1.2 percent. Losses were seen in printing/publishing, down 5.6 percent; lumber/wood, also down 5.6 percent; electronics, down 5.2 percent; stone/clay/glass, down 4.4 percent; textiles/apparel, down 3.9 percent; instruments/related products, down 5.2 percent; and paper products, down 1.8 percent.
Industrial locations closing down over the year included Georgia Pacific’s sawmill in Columbia and Roseburg Forest Products’ site in Louisville.
MNI reports Southeast Mississippi accounts for the most industrial employment in the state, with 58,574 industrial jobs, with no significant change reported over the past twelve months. Northeast Mississippi accounts for 49,307 industrial jobs, up 5.2 percent. The Southwest region of the state is home to 37,359 industrial workers, down 2.7 percent, while the Northwest is home to 26,375, down 1.1 percent.
Pascagoula remains the state’s top city by industrial employment with 14,308 manufacturing jobs, with no significant change reported over the year. Laurel saw employment increase 2.6 percent and is currently home to 7,545 industrial workers. Jackson accounts for 6,317 industrial jobs, down 4.8 percent, while Tupelo accounts for 5,969 of the state’s jobs, down 1.6 percent. Fifth-ranked Ellisville is home to 4,930 jobs, up a half percent over the past twelve months.