Industrial employment in Washington increased by 1 percent during the past 12 months, according to Manufacturers’ News Inc.
MNI reports Washington gained 2,831 industrial jobs between February 2011 and February 2012, and that the state is now home to 6,691 manufacturers employing 295,931 workers. “The recovery is gaining momentum in Washington and across the U.S.,” said Tom Dubin, president of the Evanston, Ill.-based publishing company. “Overseas demand, particularly for aerospace components, has boosted exports, and the state’s access to capital and investments in innovative technologies has been a draw for a variety of enterprises.”
Bright spots for the state include the opening of Achilles USA’s plastic film production facility in Everett; the opening of BMW’s new automotive carbon fibers plant in Moses Lake; and the planned expansion of aerospace facilities Umbra Cuscinetti and Tect Aerospace, both in Everett.
According to MNI, the state’s three top sectors by employment all posted job gains over the survey period. Transportation equipment manufacturing remains the state’s largest industrial sector by employment with 48,683 jobs, up 0.5 percent over the year. Food products manufacturing ranks second with 38,870 jobs, up 5 percent over the past 12 months. Third-ranked industrial machinery and equipment accounts for 29,583 jobs, up 3.7 percent.
MNI reports other sectors that gained jobs over the year included electronics, up 7 percent; chemicals/allied products, up 4 percent; and instruments/related products, up 1.9 percent. Losses were seen in paper products, down 11.4 percent, following the closure of Kimberly-Clark’s paper mill in Everett and Grays Harbor Paper in Hoquiam. Furniture/fixtures declined 4.7 percent; lumber/wood fell 4.1 percent, printing/publishing dropped 3.4 percent; and stone/clay/glass fell 2.2 percent.
Northwest Washington accounts for the most industrial employment in the state with 195,861 jobs, up 0.5 percent over the past 12 months, according to MNI. Southwest Washington accounts for 61,499 jobs, down 2.3 percent, while Northeast Washington accounts for 21,016, up 1.7 percent. The Southeast region is home to 17,555 industrial workers, up 1.8 percent over the survey period.