Indiana lost 17,108 manufacturing jobs over the past year, a steeper-than-recent drop spurred by the struggling auto industry and a decline in need for manufactured housing.
State manufacturing jobs sank to about 677,000 during the 12-month period that ended in March, a 2.4 percent decrease, according to the 2007 Indiana Manufacturers Directory published by Illinois-based Manufacturers' News Inc.
That percentage decrease topped declines ranging from 1 percent to 2 percent over the past three years, according to the directory, which surveyed more than 11,000 state manufacturers.
The Indiana decrease is similar to declines seen in neighboring states that rely on the automotive industry, Manufacturers' News President Tom Dubin said. The report says Michigan saw manufacturing jobs drop 3.5 percent and Ohio recorded a 2.3 percent drop.
Illinois, which doesn't rely on the industry as much, had a drop of less than 1 percent.
Changes in the automotive industry and manufactured housing were two main reasons Indiana lost jobs over the past year, said Andrew Penca, commissioner of the state Department of Workforce Development.
Indiana saw several automotive industry plants close or cut jobs in the past year. Guide Corp. announced last fall that it planned to close its Anderson factory, which employed more than 1,000 workers at the time. The factory then closed in January. Delphi Corp. also will stop production at its Anderson factory this summer.
Northern Indiana's manufactured housing makers saw a slowdown because a demand for homes and recreational vehicles that spiked after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005 started to wane, Penca said.
"The good news is, on the back end over the next several years, we've got new jobs coming on line that are either in the automotive industry or still in the manufacturing industry that will help offset those losses," Penca said.
He said Indiana was the only state last year that had expansion announcements by three major automotive or transportation-related original equipment manufacturers.
Honda Motor Co. has started building a new factory in Greensburg that will employ 2,000 people. Columbus-based Cummins Inc. announced expansion plans, and Toyota has started producing cars at a new assembly line in the Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. plant near Lafayette.
"That's promising and that certainly helps swallow some of the tough news we hear," Penca said. In addition to that, the Indiana manufacturing sector saw in April its first monthly jobs increase since June 2006, according to the state Department of Workforce Development.
Overall, though, Dubin said he's seen a steady decrease in manufacturing jobs since Sept. 11, 2001.
"It seems like the blip has been when it hasn't," he said. "It's kind of been a small, steady trickle of jobs both in Indiana and nationwide."
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Indiana loses more than 17,000 manufacturing jobs in one year
The Associated Press writes about Indiana's manufacturing job losses over the past year: