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Montana Manufacturing Job Growth Stalls


EVANSTON, Ill, October 20th, 2015/Manufacturers' News, Inc./-- After posting three straight years of gains, manufacturing employment stalled in Montana over the past year, reports the 2016 Montana Manufacturers Directory®, an industrial database and directory published by Manufacturers' News, Inc. (MNI) Evanston, IL. According to MNI’s database of manufacturers, Montana lost 191 industrial jobs from August 2014 to August 2015, or a half percent, its first loss since the 2010-2011 survey period.

MNI reports Montana is now home to 1,740 manufacturers employing 29,376 workers. MNI reports the state’s industrial employment levels rose 2.1% between August 2011 and August 2014, after dropping 13% during the recession.

“Depressed global markets, falling gas prices, and a shortage of skilled workers have contributed to the waning growth in Montana’s industrial sector,” says Tom Dubin, President of the Evanston, IL-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. “However, many community colleges across the state are developing unique programs for manufacturing, and this may signal a brighter future for many of Montana’s industries.”

Major losses were reported in the primary metals industry, with employment falling 19% in that sector, following the closure of the Revett Mine Company in Troy. Other losses included rubber/plastics, down 15%, and transportation equipment, down 3.9%.

Losses were offset by gains in many of Montana’s smaller sectors, reports MNI, with chemical manufacturing up 12%; textiles/apparel, up 7.2%; oil/gas extraction, up 5.9%; and furniture/fixtures, up 4.7%.

Bright spots for Montana’s industrial sector included ADF International’s plans to expand hiring at its Great Falls metal fabricating plant, as well as an expansion announced by Kettlehouse Brewing in Bonner.

Lumber and wood processing remains the state’s largest industrial sector by employment, with 3,725 jobs. Employment held steady in that top industry over the survey period, reports MNI, but had declined consistently in the years prior, down 37% between the start of the recession and August 2014.

MNI data shows employment in second-ranked food processing remained unchanged at 2,636 jobs, while third-ranked printing/publishing declined 3.6% to its current level of 2,632 jobs.

MNI’s regional analysis shows Northwest Montana suffered the largest share of losses, with jobs down 2.6% to its current level of 10,880 workers. Southwest Montana posted a 1.3% loss, and is currently home to 7,852 workers, while Montana’s Southeast region lost 1%, currently home to 8,577. Montana’s Northeast quadrant, however, posted a 3.9% gain, and currently accounts for 2,067 jobs.

Industrial jobs in Billings fell a half percent over the year, reports MNI, with the city home to the most manufacturing jobs in the state, numbering 4,427. Missoula posted a 1% loss, with the second-ranked city home to 2,527 jobs. Employment fell 3.8% to 2,117 jobs in third-ranked Kalispell, and declined one percent in fourth-ranked Bozeman to 2,044 jobs. Great Falls ranks fifth with 1,455 industrial workers, down 2.6% over the year.

Detailed profiles of all Montana manufacturers can be found in the 2016 Montana Manufacturers Directory® available in print or online. Established in 1912, Manufacturers' News, Inc. is the nation’s oldest and largest publisher of industrial information. MNI offers a variety of tailored solutions to help customers connect with 430,000 manufacturers and suppliers, from print directories to online subscriptions. MNI’s industrial database subscription service EZ Select: allows users to tap into a live interactive database of manufacturers, while its industrial search engine IndustryNet connects buyers and suppliers and allows users to view profiles and obtain competitive quotes. MNI’s traditional print directories are published for each state and include in-depth profiles of every manufacturer in the U.S. For more information, contact Manufacturers' News, Inc. 847-864-7000.
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