Secrets of the Job Hunt


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Arizona Manufacturing Jobs Hit Hard by Recession

Arizona manufacturing jobs are among those that have been hit hardest by the recession.

The Arizona Republic recently released its list of the state's 100 largest employers, which only confirms the negative affect the economic downturn has had, showing layoffs in nearly every industry imaginable.

The total number of workers employed by the 100 largest companies increased by about 1,600 - or less than half of one percentage point - to 424,500. The majority of the added workers came from mergers in the banking industry, where Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase added almost 4,700 jobs.

Of the 100 largest largest companies, 52 percent decreased their workforces, while 38 percent added jobs and the rest remained even.

Among those that cut jobs were manufacturing firms, healthcare fields, retail operations, airlines, hotels, transportation and communication providers, home builders, and financial and business services.

The Republic notes that manufacturing is one of the most important industries in Arizona, because jobs usually pay well and support more secondary positions than most other industries. Unfortunately, manufacturing jobs were among those most hurt by the recession.

Aerospace and defense - which are usually the last to suffer from a down economy and the last to recover amid an improving economy - in particular saw big losses throughout Arizona, with most companies losing workers during the last year.

Honeywell International Inc., an aerospace manufacturer, reduced its workforce by about 200 and doesn't expect to hire many new employees this year. And although Tucson-based missile manufacturer Raytheon added 610 workers, the company recently announced that it has laid off more than 200 workers after cutting three major programs.

Aside from aerospace and defense, manufacturing operations that laid off workers in Arizona during 2009 included semiconductors, medical-equipment makers and manufactured homes. Companies that cut jobs included W.L. Gore & Associates Inc.; Microchip Technology Inc.; Orbital Sciences Corp.; ON Semiconductor, Cavco Industries Inc.; and Medtronic Inc.

A very small number of companies did continue to add workers, including General Dynamics C4 Systems and Lockheed Martin Corporation.

There is some good news in Arizona, however, where job prospects are expected to increase this year and several companies already announcing hiring initiatives. Economists and the Arizona Department of Commerce predict the state will have more employees by the end of this year than it did at the end of 2009.

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