Industrial employment in Mississippi grew by about 0.5 percent over the last 12 months, amounting to 694 additional jobs, according to the 2012 Mississippi Manufacturers Register, an annual industrial directory by Manufacturers' News Inc. in Evanston, lll.
This report now shows that Mississippi has 3,019 manufacturers employing 171,615 workers.
"The recovery is gaining momentum in Mississippi and across the U.S.," says Tom Dubin, president of MNI. "The state's friendly business environment has been a draw for a variety of enterprises, particularly in the auto sector."
Among Mississippi’s most positive job additions are the planned opening of Toyota's new assembly plant in Blue Springs, which is to employ 2,000 workers; Olin Corp.'s new ammunition manufacturing facility in Oxford; Stion's new opening of a solar panel plant in Hattiesburg; and the expansion of Saf-T-Cart's storage products facility in Clarksdale. Cooper Tire and Rubber Company is also expanding its Tupelo facility while SABIC Innovative Plastics opened a new polypropylene plant in Bay St. Louis.
The report also reveals that transportation equipment has is now Mississippi’s largest industrial sector by employment with 24,143 manufacturing jobs, marking a 3.3 percent increase over the past 12 months. Food products manufacturing is the second-ranked industry as it offers 22,310 jobs, a 6.9 percent, after Forest Packing Company in Forest closed. Industrial machinery and equipment comes in at third with 19,565 jobs, up 4.2 percent.
Of the other industrial sectors that gained jobs are primary metals at 12 percent, rubber and plastics at 11.8 percent, and furniture and fixtures at 1.2 percent. Losses are down in printing and publishing at 5.6 percent; lumber and wood at 5.6 percent; electronics at 5.2 percent; stone, clay and glass at 4.4 percent; textiles and apparel at 3.9 percent; instruments and related products at 5.2 percent; and paper products at 1.8 percent. Georgia Pacific's sawmill in Columbia and Roseburg Forest Products' site in Louisville are among the industrial locations closing down this past year.
According to the report, Southeast Mississippi employs most of the state’s industrial jobs with 58,574 positions, and that includes no significant change reported over the past 12 months. Northeast Mississippi provides for 49,307 industrial jobs, representing a 5.2 percent increase, while Southwest Mississippi employs 37,359 industrial workers, down 2.7 percent. Northwest Mississippi has 26,375 industrial jobs, down 1.1 percent.
Pascagoula is still Mississippi’s top city by industrial employment with 14,308 manufacturing jobs. This marks no significant change from the past year. The city of Laurel experienced employment growth of 2.6 percent and now houses 7,545 industrial workers while Jackson employs 6,317 industrial workers, a decrease of 4.8 percent. Tupelo offers 5,969 of the state's jobs, down 1.6 percent, and Ellisville has 4,930 jobs, up 0.5 percent over the last year.