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Montana Industrial Employment Fell 1.7% In The Past Year

EVANSTON, Ill, October 24th, 2017/Manufacturers' News, Inc./-- Montana lost manufacturing jobs over the past year according to data collected by MNI (Manufacturers' News, Inc.) publisher of industrial data and directories for all fifty states. According to MNI’s database of manufacturers, Montana lost 484 industrial jobs from August 2016 to August 2017, a 1.7% loss.

MNI reports Montana is now home to 1,671 industrial companies employing 29,097 workers.

Montana’s wood products sector continues to take a hit from weakened foreign demand and the expiration of the Softwood Lumber Agreement, which promotes balanced trade with Canada. In addition, jobs in the state’s oil/gas extraction industry have plummeted with the downturn in the energy sector,” says Tom Dubin, President of the Evanston, IL-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. “However, numerous other sectors are thriving in Montana, helped by the state’s low business costs and abundant natural resources.”

Montana’s lumber/wood products industry shed 9% of its workforce following the closures of Weyerhaeuser’s Columbia Falls plywood mill and Timberweld Manufacturing’s facility in Columbus. The lumber/wood sector accounts for the most industrial jobs in the state, with 3,377 workers.

Additional losses were reported in electronics, down 18%; oil/gas extraction, also down 18%; petroleum products, down 12%; furniture/fixtures, down 8%; and rubber/plastics, down 4%.

These losses were offset, however, by a notable gain in food processing employment, which rose 5.3% over the year. Food processing ranks second in the state for number of jobs, employing 2,758.

Bright spots for Montana manufacturing include the opening of Montana Craft Malt, a 10,000-ton malting facility in Butte; the expansion of Boeing’s fabrication plant in Helena; and the establishment of Montana Eggs, LLC in Great Falls. In addition, cross-laminated timber company SmartLAM Technologies recently announced it would move into the vacant Weyerhaeuser Columbia Falls facility, with plans to quadruple production there.

Other Montana industrial sectors adding jobs included chemical processing, up 8.2%; textiles/apparel, up 1.7%; and coal mining, up 1.2%.

MNI’s regional analysis shows Northeast Montana suffered the largest share of losses, with jobs down 7.8% to its current level of 2,023 workers. Southeast Montana posted a 6% loss, and is currently home to 7,946 workers, while industrial employment in Montana’s Northwest region declined a half percent, and is currently home to 11,138.

Montana’s Southwest quadrant, however, posted a 3.2% gain, and currently accounts for 7,990 jobs.

Industrial jobs in Billings fell 4.6% over the year, reports MNI, with the city home to the most manufacturing jobs in the state, numbering 4,092. In Missoula, however, industrial jobs rose 4.1% to 2,608 and climbed 5% in third-ranked Bozeman to 2,402. Kalispell ranks fourth in the state with 2,198 jobs, virtually unchanged over the year, while fifth-ranked Great Falls accounts for 1,597, up 5.6%.

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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