Isle manufacturing jobs decline by 1.7 percent
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The number of industrial jobs in Hawaii, already the lowest in the nation, continued to dwindle last year, according to a detailed annual study by Chicago-based Manufacturers News Inc.
Top and bottom states by industrial employment:
Source: Manufacturers' News Inc.
The state lost a total of 444 industrial jobs and 15 manufacturers during that period, amounting to a 1.7 percent drop. However, the decline was less pronounced than the 5.6 percent drop during the same period between 2005 and 2006.
Hawaii ranks last in the nation for the number of industrial jobs, behind Wyoming and Alaska. In the number of manufacturers, however, it's ranked No. 46, above North Dakota, Alaska and Delaware.
Food manufacturing continues to make up the bulk of industrial jobs in Hawaii, followed by the printing and publishing sector and textiles and apparel sector.
Industrial jobs increased in Honolulu and Kapolei, but dropped in Waipahu and Aiea.
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The number of industrial jobs in Hawaii dropped 1.7 percent over the past year, according to an annual directory published by Manufacturers' News Inc.
That represents a loss of 444 industrial jobs and 15 manufacturers between December 2006 and 2007, although not as bad as last year's 5.6 percent drop for the same period between 2005 and 2006,
"The fact that much of Hawaii's industry stems from its vast natural resources makes it less vulnerable to the outsourcing many other states have seen," said Tom Dubin, president of the Chicago-based publisher.
Hawaii is home to 1,250 manufacturers employing 25,480 workers, according to the 2008 Hawaii Manufacturers Directory. It is also home to 309 industrial distributors. In 2005, Hawaii was home to 1,333 plants and 27,469 industrial jobs.
The state ranks last in the nation for industrial employment, but is No. 46 in the number of manufacturers, above North Dakota, Alaska and Delaware.
For economist Leroy Laney, a professor at Hawaii Pacific University, this was no surprise.
"For the overall economy, manufacturing is such a small share," said Laney. "It probably doesn't have that much of an impact. What little we had, we've lost in recent years and some of this probably won't be coming back."
Laney said manufacturers here are at a comparative disadvantage, given the costs of doing business here. Many of Hawaii's industrial manufacturers are small, with more than half -- or 57 percent -- employing five or fewer workers compared to the national overage of 34 percent, according to MNI.
Food manufacturing accounts for most of the industrial jobs in Hawaii, representing 38 percent of the state's industrial employment, with 9,811 jobs -- down 7.6 percent last year.
The printing and publishing sector, meanwhile, which accounts for another 3,857 jobs, was up 17 percent in 2007. The textile and apparel sector, which represents 2,687 of the state's jobs, was up 3.9 percent.
The majority of industrial jobs in Hawaii were on Oahu, which accounted for 19,910 jobs. Honolulu had 14,370 industrial jobs , up 2 percent compared to 2006. Kapolei represented 2,371 of the state's industrial jobs, up 7.8 percent over the last year.