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North Dakota’s Industrial Employment Fell For A Second Straight Year

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

EVANSTON, Ill, August 17th, 2017/Manufacturers' News, Inc./--Manufacturing employment declined in North Dakota for a second straight year, according to data collected by Manufacturers' News, Inc. (MNI), publisher of industrial databases and directories for all fifty states. MNI reports North Dakota lost 320 manufacturing jobs from May 2016 to May 2017, a 1% decline.

North Dakota is now home to 1,170 manufacturers employing 44,372. Following North Dakota’s post-recession industrial surge -- largely based on the oil boom, MNI recorded a 6% decline in jobs during the 2015-2016 survey period, which marked the sector’s first decline in many years.

The losses of the past two years have been overwhelmingly led by the oil and gas sector, though losses in the industry appear to have slowed. Oil/gas extraction, the top industry in North Dakota for employment just three years ago, has now fallen to second place, employing 6,590 in the state. MNI recorded a 23% drop in oil & gas jobs over the 2015-2016 survey, which contributed heavily to the state’s overall industrial employment loss. This is compared to a more moderate 8.5% decline in oil/gas jobs recorded over the past twelve months.

“The oil industry has hit bottom and this continues to affect North Dakota’s oil/gas extraction sector, which represents 15% of the state’s industrial workforce – though these losses appear to be slowing,” says Tom Dubin, President of the Evanston, IL-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. “The state’s stronghold in agribusiness and food processing have helped offset losses, and even with the declines of the past two years, North Dakota has more industrial jobs than it did ten years ago – a milestone few other states have achieved.”

Notable gains in some sectors offset losses in the oil industry, namely food processing, which rose 3.8%, ranking third in the state for industrial employment with 5,464 jobs. Most operations announcing new facilities in the state are related to the agriculture and food processing industry, including the soybean processing facility expected to open in Spiritwood later in the year. In addition, Red’s All Natural plans to establish a burrito-making facility in North Sioux City, and North Central Grain Co-op started up production at its dry fertilizer plant in Rolla.

The industrial machinery sector, which ranks first in the state for number of jobs, also posted an increase, up 1% to 8,973. Additional gains were recorded in textiles/apparel, up 3.3%; furniture/fixtures, up 2.7%; and rubber/plastics, up 2.3%.

Additional losses were reported in fabricated metals, down 5.2%; stone/clay/glass, down 2.3%; printing/publishing, down 1.7%; and electronics, down 1.6%.

MNI reports industrial employment losses were most severe in the state’s Northwest region, which saw a decline of 4.7% to 8,921 jobs. Jobs in the Northeast region fell by 2.3% to 5,187; and dropped 1% in the Southwest to 6,480. North Dakota’s Southeast quadrant was the only to gain jobs, up 1.3% to 23,784.

City data collected by MNI shows Fargo remains the state’s top city by industrial employment, with 10,576 jobs, up 1% over the past year. Employment in second-ranked Williston declined 6% to 5,081, while employment was steady in third-ranked Grand Forks, which currently accounts for 3,057 workers. Dickinson accounts for 2,976 jobs, down 2.6%, while fifth-ranked West Fargo is home to 2,646, with no significant change reported over the year.

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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