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Number of manufacturing firms in state down 1.6%

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The number of manufacturing firms in Missouri decreased by 156, or 1.6 percent, in the past 12 months. The number of manufacturing jobs in the state now stands at 9,509, according to the 1999 Missouri Manufacturers Register.

During the same period, industrial jobs decreased by 1,300, or 0.3 percent, to 454,059, according to a release from the Missouri Manufacturers Register's publisher, Manufacturers' News, of Evanston, Ill.

Published each September, the Missouri Manufacturers Register reports detailed information about industrial plants located throughout 662 cities and towns in Missouri. The 1999 Register reflects changes that occurred from September 1997 through August 1998.

"This is a trend we've seen in other states. Even though manufacturing activity and output are at record highs, industrial employment is stagnant or declining. Much of that has to do with the nature of today's manufacturing. Thanks to automation and technology, fewer employees are needed. Instead of four low-skilled workers on an assembly line, you now may have one worker entering numerical codes into a computer that controls the manufacturing process," said Thomas Dubin, president of Manufacturers' News, in the release.

Springfield ranked third in the number of overall manufacturing jobs in the state, with 384 plants in the period reported. The city lost 18 plants and gained 12. Joplin ranked fourth with 161 plants, gaining five and losing three.

Springfield also ranks third in the number of industrial jobs, with 21,557 jobs. The city gained 55 jobs, unlike first-ranked St. Louis, which lost 2,719 jobs, and second-ranked Kansas City, which lost 1,551.

Printing and publishing remains the state's largest manufacturing group, with 1,506 firms, or 15.58 percent of the state's total. Industrial machinery and equipment ranks second with 1,282 plants, or 13.26 percent of the state's total.

Metal fabrication ranks third with 923 plants, or 9.55 percent of the state's total. Lumber and wood products is fourth with 688 plants, or 7.12 percent. Food is fifth, with 667 plants and 6.9 percent of the total.

Combined, these categories account for more than 52.41 percent of the state total.

The 1999 Missouri Manufacturers Register contains detailed profiles of all 9,509 industrial plants in the state. Each profile provides up to 30 facts, including addresses, phone numbers, products manufactured and other information.

The book is available in book format for $101 and on CD-ROM for $545. For more information, contact Manufacturers' News Inc., 1633 Central St., Evanston, Ill. 60201 or call 847-864-7000.

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