State gains in manufacturing employment

For the second consecutive year, industrial employment in Wisconsin posted a gain, according to the 2014 Wisconsin Manufacturers Register, an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers’ News Inc. (MNI) of Evanston, Ill. MNI reports Wisconsin gained 3,010 manufacturing jobs from July 2012 to July 2013, or about 1 percent.

Manufacturers’ News reports Wisconsin is now home to 11,208 manufacturers employing 574,091 workers. 

“Wisconsin’s industrial sector continues to grow,” says Tom Dubin, president of the publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. “The state’s lower business costs in comparison to its neighbors, educated workforce, and central location for the shipment of goods continue to result in many companies investing in its manufacturing sector, particularly those in the food products sector.” 

According to MNI, employment in food products manufacturing rose 1.1 percent in Wisconsin over the survey period and is expected to keep rising, with the expansion of a Wisconsin’s Dairyfood USA site in Blue Mounds; Seneca Foods’ planned expansion of its Janesville plant; and Agropur’s plans to expand its cheesemaking operations in Luxemburg. Food products manufacturing currently employs 66,266 Wisconsin workers, ranking third in the state for number of industrial jobs.

Other bright spots included commercial lighting company Kenall Manufacturing’s announcement last week that it plans to move its headquarters from Gurnee, Ill., to a new facility in Kenosha. In addition, L&M Corrugated Container Corp. opened a new plant in Pleasant Prairie and paper manufacturer Summer Industries established a new facility in Neenah.

MNI reports Wisconsin’s largest sectors by industrial employment posted increases over the survey period. Industrial machinery and equipment accounts for the most industrial employment in the state with 311,566 jobs, up about 1 percent over the year. Fabricated metals manufacturing ranks second with 69,754 industrial jobs, up 2.5 percent. Other sectors to gain jobs included paper products, up 4.3 percent; electronics, up 3.6 percent; and chemicals, up 1.9 percent. 

Manufacturers’ News reports that southeast Wisconsin accounts for over half of the state’s industrial employment, with 311,566 jobs, up about 1 percent over the year.

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