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Manufacturing Jobs In Arkansas Declined 1.4% Over The Past Year

Contact: Jennifer Ratcliff
Manufacturers' News, Inc.
(847) 864-9440 ext. 241
jratcliff [at]

EVANSTON, Ill. December 14th, 2016/Manufacturers' News, Inc./-- Arkansas lost industrial jobs over the past year, reports the 2017 Arkansas Manufacturers Register®, an industrial database and directory published by Manufacturers' News, Inc. (MNI) Evanston, IL. According to MNI’s database of manufacturers, Arkansas lost 2,937 jobs between September 2015 and September 2016, a 1.4% decline.

Arkansas’ 3,232 manufacturers employ 203,307 in the state, reports MNI.

“Although Arkansas’ labor costs are among the most competitive in the nation, finding skilled workers remains a challenge – a deterrent to many new businesses. In addition, plummeting oil prices have affected the state’s oil/gas extraction industry, which until recently had been a small, but steady growth sector,” says Tom Dubin, President of the Evanston, IL-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. “However, Arkansas’ stronghold in the food processing sector combined with a business-friendly environment have helped to keep losses at bay.”

Manufacturing job losses in Arkansas were led by the state’s industrial machinery sector, which dropped by 1,200 jobs or 7.5%, and ranks third in the state for number of factory jobs, employing 14,738.

Food processing remains the state’s top sector by number of industrial jobs, employing 49,318, up a half percent over the year. Jobs in the second-ranked fabricated metals industry were up 3.8% to 15,742.

Arkansas’ industrial job losses were seen across a broad range of sectors, including oil/gas extraction, down 16%; stone/clay/glass, down 6.6%; furniture/fixtures, down 6.3%; electronics, down 5.5%; printing/publishing, down 3.5%; chemicals, down 2.4% and rubber/plastics, down 1.8%.

Industrial locations announcing closures included Arkansas Laminating, which shuttered its operation in Magnolia; a ConAgra Foods location in Batesville; and Superior Graphite Co., which closed its plant in Russellville.

Among the bright spots noted in the state was the announcement by Chinese manufacturer Suzhou Tianyuan Garments Company of its plans to open an apparel factory in Little Rock. In addition, ammunition maker SIG Sauer plans to break ground on a plant in Jacksonville, and Corbitt Manufacturing, the component production arm of American Railcar Industries, will establish a facility in Paragould.

MNI reports job losses were most severe in Northeast Arkansas, with employment down 5% to 34,476 jobs. Northwest Arkansas saw a loss of 1.1%, and is now home to 119,535 workers, while jobs in the state’s Southwest region declined 1% to 30,784 jobs. An employment gain in the Southeast was a rare bright spot for the state, with jobs up 2.8% to 15,687.

City data collected by MNI shows Springdale ranks first in the state for number of manufacturing jobs, with 13,394 workers, down 1.5% over the past year. Little Rock is a close second, with 12,225 jobs, down 1.1%. Third-ranked Fort Smith is home to 11,019 industrial workers, down 6.9%, while fourth-ranked Rogers accounts for 6,374, down 6.4%. Manufacturing jobs in Jonesboro increased by 1.4% to 6,157, reports MNI.

Established in 1912, MNI is the nation’s oldest and largest compiler of industrial information, offering tailored solutions to help customers connect with 430,000 manufacturers and suppliers. MNI’s industrial marketplace IndustryNet: is a one-stop resource that connects buyers with suppliers of 10,000 + products and services, and allows users to obtain competitive quotes, create and view company profiles, post company news releases, photos, videos, job openings, and more. MNI’s subscription service EZ Select: provides access to MNI’s live interactive database of manufacturers. For more information, contact MNI at 847-864-7000 or visit
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