Manufacturing employment in Colorado inched up over the past year, though at a slower rate than in previous years, reports the 2017 Colorado Manufacturers Directory®, an industrial database and directory published by Manufacturers’ News, Inc. (MNI) Evanston, IL. According to MNI, manufacturers in Colorado added 703 new jobs between June 2015 and June 2016, or just a third of one percent, as losses in the oil/gas extraction sector offset major gains in other industries.
Colorado’s 6,109 manufacturers employ 212,693 in the state. MNI data shows Colorado manufacturing employment has completely recovered from the recession, adding 15,073 industrial jobs, or nearly 8%, since June 2010.
“Colorado’s workforce is among the nation’s best educated, and the state gets high marks for fostering a business environment where innovation thrives,” says Tom Dubin, President of the Evanston, IL-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. “However, gains have slowed over the past year as global competition and a strong dollar continue to challenge growth, and falling oil prices have put a dent in the state’s oil and gas extraction sector.”
Food processing sector leads in Colorado
According to MNI, employment gains were led by Colorado’s flourishing food processing sector, which climbed 4.1% over the year, and currently ranks first in the state for industrial employment with 26,418 jobs.
Second ranked industrial machinery also posted a gain, up one percent over the year to 23,224 jobs. Third-ranked electronics employs 23,043, up 3.1%.
Other Colorado industries gaining jobs included medical instruments and related products, up 3.5%; lumber/wood, up 3.1%; chemicals, up 1.6%; and transportation equipment, also up 1.6%.
Colorado openings and closings
Several major Colorado plant openings were announced over the year, including SAS Manufacturing LLC, which established a facility in Englewood; helium producer Air Products, which opened a new operation in Doe Canyon; and Pure Vision Technology, which broke ground on a hemp-processing facility in Fort Lupton.
Employment losses in the oil/gas extraction sector offset these gains however, with jobs in the sector down by 9.4%, or 1,738. Other industries that lost jobs in Colorado included furniture/fixtures, down 5.6%; petroleum products, down 4.9%; primary metals, down 3.9%; and printing/publishing, down 3.7%.
Colorado industrial sites announcing closures included Leggett & Platt’s mattress spring factory in Colorado Springs; Safeway’s bread processing plant in Denver; a Quad/Graphics facility in Loveland; and Lake Region Medical’s plant in Arvada.
MNI’s regional data shows gains were concentrated in Colorado’s Northwest region, with employment up 1.2% to 61,572 jobs. Industrial employment levels were unchanged in Northeast Colorado, which accounts for 138,001 jobs, and also held steady in Southwest Colorado, which accounts for 6,837. Manufacturing jobs declined 6.7% in the state’s Southeast region, which is now home to 6,283 workers.
Denver, Colorado Springs top manufacturing cities
Denver is Colorado’s top city for manufacturing jobs, with 41,409 workers, down 1% over the year, reports MNI. Industrial employment in second-ranked Colorado Springs was unchanged at 17,180 jobs. Third-ranked Englewood accounts for 14,647 jobs, with no significant change reported, and fourth ranked Boulder accounts for 12,233, also virtually unchanged. Littleton accounts for 9,754 industrial jobs, up 1.9% over the year.