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Manufacturing jobs drop 2.2% statewide


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POSTED: Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hawaii's industrial employment dropped 2.2 percent over the last year as 569 jobs were lost between December 2007 and 2008, according to the latest report from Manufacturers' News Inc.

Currently, Hawaii is home to 1,211 manufacturers employing 24,911 workers.

MNI of Evanston, Ill., reported that Oahu, which accounts for more than two-thirds of industrial employment in the state with 19,551 jobs, showed a 1.8 percent decrease in jobs over the year.

"As with the entire nation, Hawaii's industrial employment is suffering due to stagnating demand and weaker exports," MNI President Tom Dubin said.

On the Big Island, employment fell 9.8 percent to 2,457 jobs compared to last year. Maui manufacturing jobs, meanwhile, grew 4.1 percent to 1,161 jobs, while Kauai was down 3.6 percent to 74 jobs compared to a year ago.

On Oahu, the report for manufacturing in various regions were mixed.

Honolulu, which is home to 14,090 industrial jobs, was down 2 percent over the year, while Kapolei (2,391 jobs), was up 1 percent over last year. Aiea's industrial employment increased 5.7 percent (1,111 jobs) over the year, while Waipahu (1,088 jobs) was down 10 percent from a year ago.

Nearly 40 percent of Hawaii's industrial employment is concentrated in the food products sector, with 9,688 jobs, down 1.3 percent over the year due in part to layoffs at Gay & Robinson Inc. because of its plans to shut down the sugar plant on Kauai.

Printing and publishing accounts for 4,035 jobs, with no significant change reported over the last year. Textiles and apparel accounts for 2,544 jobs, which was down 5.3 percent over the year.

Other sectors losing jobs include paper/allied products, which fell 39 percent following the closure of the Honolulu Weyerhaeuser facility. Chemicals and allied products were down 3.1 percent; primary metals, down 2.8 percent and lumber/wood, down 1.6 percent.