Arkansas Industrial Jobs Declined 1% Over Past Year

Nov 13, 2012, 10:15 ET from Manufacturers' News, Inc.

EVANSTON, Ill., Nov. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Manufacturing employment in Arkansas declined 1% over the past twelve months according to the 2013 Arkansas Manufacturers Register, an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers' News, Inc. (MNI) Evanston, IL. MNI reports Arkansas lost 1,930 manufacturing jobs from September 2011 and September 2012, and is in the minority of states for which MNI recorded a loss in industrial jobs. Since the beginning of 2012, the industrial publisher has reported on 36 states, 72% of which have posted a gain in manufacturing jobs over a one-year period.

Manufacturers' News reports Arkansas is now home to 3,537 manufacturers employing 194,564 workers.

"Arkansas still struggles with decreased demand from the recession, particularly in those sectors influenced by the housing industry such as furniture and lumber," says Tom Dubin, President of the Evanston, IL-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. "The good news is that Arkansas maintains low business costs, which has helped many existing businesses expand."

Several manufacturers operating in Arkansas announced expansions over the year, including Custom Aircraft Cabinets in Sherwood; Firestone Building Products in Prescott; Utility Trailer Manufacturing Co. in Paragould; Peco Foods in Newark and Batesville; and ConAgra Foods in Russellville. 

MNI reports food products remains the state's largest manufacturing sector by employment with 49,019 jobs, up 1.2% over the survey period. Second-ranked fabricated metal accounts for 17,193 industrial jobs, up 8.2% over the year. Industrial machinery and equipment employs the third most at 16,112 jobs, up 1.6%.

Sectors that lost jobs over the year included printing/publishing down 10.6%; electronics, down 10.6%; lumber/wood, down 8.2%; stone/clay/glass, down 5.3%; furniture/fixtures, down 4.2%; paper products, down 3.4%; and rubber/plastics, down 2.5%. Gains were seen in chemicals, up 4.8%; petroleum products, up 4.5%; and primary metals, up 1.8%.

Industrial locations closing over the year included Quad/Graphics' plant in Jonesboro; Fortis Plastics in Fort Smith; Georgia Pacific's location in Little Rock; and Yarnell's Ice Cream facility in Searcy. 

According to the Register, Northwest Arkansas accounts for the largest share of industrial employment with 109,324 manufacturing jobs, with no significant change reported from a year ago. The Northeast region ranks second at 37,624 manufacturing jobs, up 1.6% over the year. Southwest Arkansas is home to 31,115 industrial jobs, down 2%, while the Southeast is home to 16,501 jobs, down 7.6%.

MNI data shows Springdale is Arkansas' top city for manufacturing employment, accounting for 13,412 of the state's jobs, up 3.2% over the past year. Little Rock is home to 13,222 jobs, down 1.1% over the year. Third-ranked Fort Smith is now home to 11,929 industrial jobs, down 12% over the past year, due partially to the closure of a Whirlpool refrigerator plant. Jobs were virtually unchanged in fourth-ranked Rogers, while Pine Bluff is home to 6,335 industrial jobs, down 5.3% over the past twelve months.

Detailed profiles of Arkansas' 3,537 manufacturers and 550 distributors can be found in the 2013 Arkansas Manufacturers Register®, available in print for $102, or available online through MNI's subscription-based service at Users may generate custom profiles of manufacturers using a variety of criteria, including area or zip code, county, SIC, sales volume, number of employees, and more. Each profile provides up to 30 facts, including vital contact information (phone, web, e-mail), 13,761 executives by name and title, product(s) manufactured, annual sales, and number of employees. MNI also maintains, an industrial search engine designed specifically for locating manufacturers and suppliers nationwide, and has recently launched an expansion and relocation guide for manufacturers.

Manufacturers' News, Inc. is the nation's oldest and largest publisher of state manufacturers directories.  For 100 years the company has identified, researched and profiled manufacturing establishments. MNI employs an 85-person editorial staff to scour state business registrations, trade journals, financial reports, and many other sources to pinpoint every manufacturing establishment in the U.S. Each manufacturer is contacted throughout the year to update their profiles, including their employee counts. For more information, contact Manufacturers' News, Inc., 1633 Central St., Evanston, IL, 60201, 847-864-7000, FAX 847-332-1100. Information is also available on Facebook and Twitter.     

SOURCE Manufacturers' News, Inc.