Manufacturing job growth gets top marks

The Phoenix area closed out 2018 as the city with the second-highest job growth of the year and continues to ride that ship into the new year. Last year, employment grew 4.2 percent from Dec. 2017-Nov. 2018, according to CBRE research and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, adding 86,800 new jobs during that time period. From tech jobs to bio and finance-related jobs, Phoenix has continued to carve out a corner for itself as a worker’s market.

Now, another sector is emerging in the Phoenix area, giving way to competitive job growth among the nation’s top metropolitan areas: manufacturing. According to analysis from Kempler Industries, the greater Phoenix region landed in the top 50 areas of the country’s mid-major to major markets for manufacturing job growth, coming in at number 46. Kempler, an Illinois-based provider of heavy machinery, used data on 236 cities from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau to examine the growth and change in job trends.

The analysis included grading cities on the total number of manufacturing jobs, year-over-year job growth, median income in manufacturing, and housing affordability for each market.

“Last year alone, Arizona added 6,600 manufacturing jobs, and I understand the bulk of the growth occurred in the Greater Phoenix area,” said Dawn Grove, chairwoman of the Arizona Manufacturers Council. “We’ve seen growth in aerospace & defense, advanced technologies, electronics, optics, even food manufacturing. PING grew, adding several dozen jobs here as well.”

In recent years, Phoenix has seen the biggest jump for small-business wage growth among the major metropolitan cities in the country, according to Paychex-HIS Markit—another example of a worker-friendly environment. When it comes to manufacturing jobs, the area boasts 3,222 jobs per 100,000 people for a total of 135,100 jobs. Job opening growth in the industry grew 5.4 percent from 2017-2018, according to Kempler, mirroring the expected growth of 3.4 percent in the industry over the next two years.

“Manufacturers are like magnets that attract suppliers and service-providers all around them, so the more manufacturers come to Phoenix, the more exponential the growth,” adds Grove.

Last year, the American component of London-based research company PwC put out its results of countries and states that were surging in aerospace and defense industry manufacturing sectors. Arizona landed at number four in the United States due to its 1,200 aerospace and defense supply-chain enterprises in operation, which has opened the door to more than 55,000 jobs.

“The National Association of Manufacturers reports that manufacturers’ optimism for the future is at an all-time high nationwide, and Phoenix has reason for even more optimism, given the growth of manufacturing locally,” Grove said.

Nick Esquer

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