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IndustryNet Blog

Posted by IndustryNet
According to new data released this morning by MNI, Alabama's manufacturing workforce inched up over the past year, with 1,041 new net jobs created between March 2016 to March 2017, or about a half percent. This is the fifth straight year the state has posted an employment gain, but jobs have been added at a slower rate than recorded in MNI's previous surveys.

Data collected by MNI, compiler and publisher of the industrial information that powers IndustryNet, shows factory employment in Alabama skyrocketed 28% over the past five years, with the strongest gains recorded between March 2012 and March 2015, as automakers and suppliers to the auto industry flocked to its borders, lured by Alabama's low labor costs and attractive business incentives.

Jobs in the state's transportation equipment sector surged 18% in those years, with the industry overtaking food processing as the state's top sector by manufacturing jobs, according to MNI's industrial data.

Gains over the past two years were much softer, however, with jobs inching up just a half percent each year, and employment in transportation equipment barely budged. New challenges have emerged as the dollar grows stronger, global competition increases, and other states in the south refine their competitive edge. And, as manufacturing becomes more technologically advanced, finding workers with appropriate skill levels is more and more difficult.

Which begs the question: is Alabama's manufacturing sector at a turning point?
Posted by IndustryNet
Bearings make the world go round. Literally.

From the small ball bearings found in roller blades to the cylindrical bearings found in automotive transmissions, bearings reduce friction, allowing various parts to work in conjunction with one another without overheating. Bearings manufacturers generated over $24 billion in sales last year, between aircraft, babbitt, ball, rod end, spherical, self-lubricating, and many other types.

IndustryNet, a well-established industrial marketplace that maintains current information on nearly 400,000 U.S. industrial companies, analyzed America's leading bearings suppliers, and found that, out of approximately 1,000 bearing companies in the United States, the following are the top bearings suppliers in terms of employees and facility square footage.

Top 10 bearings companies by number of employees and square footage

1. NTN Driveshaft, Inc. (610,000 square feet, 1,650 employees) - Located in Columbus, Indiana, NTN was the first bearing company to win the Deming Prize - an award that honors people and businesses for the contributions and commitment to Total Quality Management. NTN brings this commitment to bear with all of their clients, including John Deere, Caterpillar, Dana, General Electric, Valmont Industries and many others.

2. Rexnord Industries, Inc. (550,000 square feet, 400 employees) - Indianapolis, Indiana houses this company which primarily serves two major market segments. Under the process motion and control market, the company operates as Rexnord and Rexnord Aerospace. In the water management market, Zurn and VAG are its primary brands.

Posted by IndustryNet
IndustryNet's year-over-year analysis of 1,044 bearings suppliers in the U.S. shows the sector is holding steady, with a number of companies reporting sales growth and strong employment growth recorded in the Midwest.

Aircraft bearings underwent the largest employment growth at nearly 30%. Highly industry-specific, aircraft bearings can include ball, radial ball, needle track roller, rod end, and journal and airframe bearings. With so much at stake, aircraft bearings must be crafted with great precision.

Looking at employment, the Midwest comes out on top with the highest number of employees (34% of the national total) and the greatest employment growth at 46.67%. The South nearly matched the Midwest in terms of number of employees, at 33% of the national total, but had a far weaker employment growth of only 27%.
Posted by IndustryNet
According to IndustryNet there are 970 powder coating companies employing 17,675 nationally, up 5.4 percent from last year. Sales in the industry have topped $6.7 billion annually. Powder coating is very much a local industry, with 87 percent of companies focused on domestic distribution and 41 percent of those companies focused locally.

Your search for the right powder coating supplier might begin with some of the more obvious considerations like cost and turnaround time. However, there are many additional factors you might want to consider before taking the time to request a quote or contact a supplier. Here are just a few that might help you save time and money in the long run.

Posted by IndustryNet
According to the Precision Machined Products Association, the precision machining industry is experiencing growth. The association's business activity index, which is based on reports from 81 shops, reached record-high levels in January, up almost 4 percent over the five-year January average.

In addition, IndustryNet data also shows strong sales and employment growth in precision machining. The industry produces highly engineered machined components based on customer specifications, using materials such as steel, aluminum, titanium, stainless steel and various advanced alloys. Both complex parts and complete assemblies are manufactured to be incorporated into products such as automobiles, aircraft, medical devices and appliances.

Data from IndustryNet reveals the companies that are leading the way among the thousands of precision machining companies operating in this healthy market.

Posted by IndustryNet
Servicing industry sectors and creating objects of every shape and size, precision machining is used to manufacture everything from the smallest of surgical instruments to the largest of aircraft parts.

In order to manufacture these parts, a precision machinist follows a set of blueprints that are created using computer-aided design (CAD) or computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). These designs are transferred to a computer numerical control (CNC) machine that creates each piece by removing material to precise specifications, enabling the machinist to produce any quantity of parts precisely as designed.

As technology improves, so does the ability of machines to create parts with greater precision. However, manufacturing has not yet reached a point where every job can be performed by a robot. While a CNC machine is robotic, a human interface is still required to enable programming and monitoring of the machine due to the complexity of processes involved in precision machining. Additionally, robots lack human dexterity and, more importantly, the innately human ability to collaborate and innovate.

IndustryNet has compiled statistical information analyzing the precision machining industry in order to gain insight into current industry trends and compare company performance across a spectrum of data points.

For its most recent analysis, IndustryNet tracked 3,373 precision machining plants with 73,487 employees. Job growth has remained at a steady 4 percent in this sector over the past year. Average industry sales have grown nearly 5 percent over the past year to more than $6 billion.

Posted by IndustryNet
Like many other sectors in the U.S. manufacturing industry, packaging companies continue to report high sales growth as 2017 moves forward. Overall, sales growth for U.S. packaging companies increased by nearly 5 percent, according to new data from IndustryNet. A look at the top 10 packaging companies provides key information for U.S. manufacturers searching for the most successful business partners.

Not surprisingly, many of the largest packaging companies based on annual sales are located in the Midwest. Oshkosh, WI based Bemis Co., which makes flexible and rigid plastic packaging for a variety of products, reported sales in excess of $4 billion, while sales at Packaging Corp of America in Lake Forest, IL topped $2.8 billion.

Looking to the West Coast, Nippon Dynawave Packaging in Longview, WA reported sales of $250-$500 million, and ranks among the industry�s largest employers with 1,500 workers.

In the Northeast, sales at Hampshire Paper Corp. which provides laminated packaging solutions topped $15-20 million, and in the South, Texas-based Cryovac, Inc., which makes packaging for the food industry, reported sales of $25-$100 million.
Posted by IndustryNet
New data from the Institute for Supply Managment released this morning shows manufacturing activity in the U.S. inched up in May. The ISM's latest Manufacturing Report on Business, a leading economic indicator based on a survey of the nation's supply executives, shows U.S. manufacturing activity rose 0.1% to 54.9% in May, from 54.8% in April, marking the sector's ninth consecutive month of growth.

A reading of 50% or higher indicates expansion.

Growth was reported in fifteen of the eighteen manufacturing industries surveyed by the ISM, and included nonmetallic mineral products; furniture & related products; plastics & rubber products; machinery; primary metals; food, beverage & tobacco; and electrical equipment. Apparel, leather & allied products as well as textile mills were the only two industries to indicate contraction.

Overall, the ISM manufacturing activity report for May shows continued strength in the U.S. industrial sector, with multiple sub-sectors reporting sustained growth. New orders, inventories, and employment remain in expansion territory, reports the ISM, though supplier deliveries are slowing and prices are on the rise.

The New Orders Index registered 59.5%, up 2% from April�s reading of 57.5. The employment index jumped 1.5% to a reading of 53.5% in May � marking the sector�s eighth straight month of gains.

Inventories held steady at 51.5% reports the ISM, up a half percent from April. Sectors reporting increased inventories included transportation equipment, rubber & plastics; furniture; and food, beverage & tobacco products.

The ISM�s Export Index continues to grow, though at a slower rate, registering 57.5% in May, compared to 59.5% in April. Eleven out of eighteen industries reported increased exports in May, with only computer/electronic products and fabricated metal products reporting decreases.

Posted by IndustryNet
New data released this week by MNI, researcher and compiler of the U.S. manufacturing data that powers IndustryNet, shows Florida's manufacturing sector continues to thrive, adding jobs for a fourth straight year. Florida's manufacturing job levels inched up a third of a percent between March 2016 and March 2017, adding to the significant gains recorded in the years following the recession.

This year's gain was led by a 2.5% rise in the Florida's fabricated metal industry, which currently employs 48,531 workers -- the state's largest sector by industrial employment.

This is the fourth straight year Florida added manufacturing jobs, with more than 20,000 jobs added between March 2013 and March of this year. Paper products, rubber/plastics, electronics and textiles were among some of the other sectors to add jobs, while losses were recorded in furniture, industrial machinery and chemicals.

Florida gets high marks for a variety of site selection factors. The state ranks second in the U.S. for its infrastructure, and its business costs are among the lowest in the nation. Forbes recently ranked Florida as first in the nation for growth prospects, and eighth in the U.S. for economic climate -- and it doesn't hurt that Floridians pay no income tax.

Florida's 13,942 industrial companies employ 476,202 workers. Here's a breakdown of the numbers:

Posted by IndustryNet
With 2,423 packaging suppliers in the United States, all with many different types of packaging capabilities, it may be daunting to find one that can fit your specific needs.

Because many companies specialize in specific types of packaging, you can easily narrow your search by eliminating those companies that do not address your needs. For example, if you require primary corrugated packaging service, you can rule out companies that specialize in other areas, and instead, focus on companies like Stamar Packaging, based in Elgin, Illinois, which offers custom primary, secondary and tertiary corrugated packaging services.

However, with mandated certifications, labeling specifications and retail packaging requirements, you cannot settle on a company you've just picked out of a hat. Although laborers and high-tech machinery are important, there are additional factors to consider. Above all, it's essential to find a packaging supplier who fits your budget and meets your company's needs. It is also important to learn as much as possible about each potential packaging supplier's track record and years of experience in the business.

Before making a deal with a packaging supplier, make sure your company inquires about the following:
Posted by IndustryNet
The Commerce Department reported this morning that real gross domestic product (GDP) rose at a revised annual rate of 1.2% in the 1st quarter of 2017. This follows an initial estimate of 1st quarter GDP growth reported by the of just 0.7% reported at the end of April.

Although the 1.2% increase in GDP paints a better picture than previous estimates, it still lags behind the 2.1% growth reported in the last quarter of 2016, and is the worst GDP reading since the first quarter of last year, in which U.S. GDP rose just 0.8%.

The BEA�s revised figure is based on an increase in nonresidential fixed investment and greater consumer spending, though these figures were offset by a decline in private investment.

Current-dollar GDP rose 3.4% in the first quarter of 2017, according to the BEA, amounting to a $158 billion increase, compared to a 4.2%, or $194 billion increase in the 4th quarter of 2016.

Gross domestic income rose by nearly one percent, following a 1.4% decline in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to the Commerce Department. Gross private investment rose 4.8%, with a notable rise in equipment investment of 7.2%.
Posted by IndustryNet
The U.S. packaging industry, which comprises packaging for consumer products as well as industrial machinery, continues to show resilience, according to IndustryNet. As packaging companies across four different regions reported strong growth, packaging containing flexible materials stood out. Data further suggests that U.S. manufacturing is still in the midst of an economic rebound.

IndustryNet's data shows that overall the U.S. packaging industry has grown 4.6 percent over last year. Total average yearly sales in the U.S. packaging industry exceeded $26.3 billion. As 2017 moves forward, experts at IndustryNet anticipate sales growth to remain strong.

Domestic distribution rose 70 percent while international distribution rose 29 percent, by comparison, suggesting that U.S. packaging companies have pivoted to provide more services within the U.S..

Taking a deeper dive into the data, packaging machinery sales inched up 1 percent. Sales at flexible packaging companies rose by as much as 23 percent, and packaging automation equipment skyrocketed 31 percent.

The cost benefits of sustainability and recyclability are two reasons why packaging companies have reported such strong growth. In fact, the market for reusable, green packaging is expected to exceed $274 billion by 2020.

Sales growth of this magnitude provides a key point of reference when analyzing the health of U.S. manufacturing. Overall, manufacturing output is at an all-time high in the U.S., a recent article by Forbes reported. Sales growth in U.S. packaging coincides with this trend.

Posted by IndustryNet
According to a report released this morning by MNI, researcher and compiler of the extensive U.S. manufacturing data that powers IndustryNet, Mississippi lost manufacturing jobs for the first time in four years, led by a 2.2% loss in the transportation equipment industry. Although this year's loss amounted to a slight half percent decline (1,046 jobs), it stands in contrast to the nearly 4,500 jobs the state added in the years following the recession. The state's post-recession gain was largely due to a 24% rise in transportation equipment employment, as more manufacturers moved south to escape high labor costs in other states.

This past year's loss reflects a number of challenges faced by Mississippi manufacturers, including global competition and a strong dollar -- factors that plague U.S. manufacturing as a whole. Competition from neighboring states also plays a part, but a dearth of skilled workers and lagging focus on tech and innovation weighs most heavily on Mississippi's manufacturing climate.

This isn't to say the state is not making some progress on the challenges it faces. Important measures have been recently adopted in the state, such as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, and a multitude of business incentives designed to draw more manufacturers to the state. And there's no ignoring the fact that Mississippi's cost of doing business is among the lowest in the U.S.
Posted by IndustryNet
Yesterday, we brought you a report on growth in the U.S. powder coating industry, citing a 5.4% increase in employment. This is no wonder given how essential powder coating finishes are to the manufacture of appliances and equipment. A powder coating is superior to other finishes like paint because it provides a thicker, more durable coat, doesn't sag after application and has a wide range of specialty effects that are not available with other finish options. Matching the coating to the color of the project provides a polished, professional appearance.

Today, we're taking a closer look at some of top industrial suppliers in the sector. America boasts over 970 powder coating suppliers. In terms of numbers of employees, these companies are at the top of the list:

Protective Coatings, Inc.

This Kent, WA company provides work for 325 employees and focuses on the aerospace and automotive industries, among others.

Axalta Coating Systems, LLC

In Houston, TX, Axalta employs 280 workers and offers Nap-Gard and Herberts O'Brien brands.

Powder Cote II, Inc.

This Mount Clemens, MI corporation has 250 employees who focus on powder and electrocoating for numerous industries.

PPG Industries, Inc.

In Strongsville, OH, this ambitious company with its 250 employees seeks to be the world's leading coatings company.

Hartford Finishing, Inc.

This "One-Stop" Powder Coating Job Shop employs 249 workers and is one of the largest powder coaters in the Midwest.

TMCO, Inc.

The Total Manufacturing Company has 200 workers in Lincoln, NE, and provides concept-to-completion metal manufacturing services.

Hentzen Coatings, Inc.

This Milwaukee, WI company employs 198 people to provide an engineered coating for every industry.

Almond Products, Inc.

The 185 employees of this Spring Lake, MI company pride themselves on their cutting edge technology.

Posted by IndustryNet
The economic outlook for the powder coating industry in the U.S. continues to give manufacturers much cause for optimism. As 2017 moves forward, it will be interesting to see if the following positive trends pick up steam or level off, should global macroeconomic conditions drag down U.S. manufacturing output. The good news is that new data suggests that strong growth will most likely continue in 2017, which bodes well for U.S. powder coating companies.

Overall, job growth in the powder coating industry continues to increase. At the time of this writing, 697 powder coating companies served the U.S. market and ranked among the most successful manufacturers in the country. Today, U.S. powder coating companies employ 17,675 workers across 970 plant sites.

According to data from IndustryNet, the rate of job growth in this sector increased 5.4 percent over last year. 912 jobs were added by U.S. powder coating companies in 2016, and industry experts anticipate further growth this year as manufacturing in the U.S. gains momentum.

As an industry, U.S. powder coating companies reported positive growth, yet Midwest manufacturers - comprising 30 percent of all powder coating companies in the country - stood apart as the most successful. Compared to sales growth in other regions, 44 percent of successful powder coating companies operated in the Midwest.

Posted by IndustryNet
Over the next few years, manufacturing industry experts anticipate continued expansion in the U.S. fastener market, which bodes well for all manufacturers worldwide. Fresh data concerning the health of the fastener industry in the U.S., including ancillary sectors, strongly suggest that this growth is not an aberration but rather a much-needed rebound. Certainly, challenges in the global manufacturing market persist, yet data is trending in a positive direction overall.

IndustryNet's latest data provide cause for optimism as 2017 moves forward. At the time of this writing, the fastener industry in the U.S. encompassed 986 plant sites. Moreover, the fastener industry accounted for 53,872 jobs. This figure represented a 1.2 percent growth in employment.

Sales growth in the U.S. fastener industry coincided with solid job growth. Sales from December 2015 to December 2016 alone grew 11 percent. This expansion of the fastener market is not negligible but rather suggests that global economic conditions may be stabilizing with respect to manufacturing in the U.S.

Top 10 U.S. fastener manufacturers by sales growth
Posted by IndustryNet
Whether it be the nails and screws holding up houses or the head bolts and hex-headed cap screws keeping car brakes functional, fasteners are literally the nuts and bolts of daily life. They are key to the success of most industries; cars, airplanes, agricultural machinery, infrastructure, commercial construction and appliances rely heavily on the use of fasteners for their production.

Joist hangers, metal connectors, concrete anchors, and other construction-specific fasteners are the most popular types, accounting for approximately ten trillion dollars in annual sales. Contract assembly and mailing, binding, and packaging services come in second, accounting for about one trillion dollars in annual sales. Most fastener manufacturing plants make all types of fasteners, though sixteen specialize in industrial fasteners, nine specialize in nuts and bolts, eight in anchor bolts, and six in aerospace fasteners. Of those employed in the U.S. fastener industry, the majority work with aerospace fasteners, accounting for 1,381 current jobs. This is understandable since aerospace is an industry where strong emphasis on product quality is of paramount importance.

With over 1,000 fastener manufacturing plants in the United States alone and thousands of fastener types to choose from, selecting the right fastener company that fits specific needs and falls in the right price range can be a real challenge.

But fear not! IndustryNet, the marketplace that connects industrial buyers and suppliers, has all of the tools and data to answer any question. IndustryNet collects data on all U.S. fastener manufacturers, from joist hangers and concrete anchors for construction or industrial needs to staples and stapling devices. IndustryNet lists verified fastener suppliers and categorizes them by type, including automotive, aerospace, roofing, and packaging, and further categorizes the fasteners by material, such as aluminum, brass, or stainless steel.

IndustryNet can help customers
Posted by IndustryNet
Overall, 2016 was a productive year for the U.S. fastener industry. Millions of fasteners were fabricated, sold and distributed to American manufacturers across all sectors. Data compiled by IndustryNet show how well the top 10 fastener companies in the U.S. performed this year.

Despite challenges in the global manufacturing market, fastener companies in the U.S. fared well in 2016, especially manufacturers that supply aerospace and defense companies. Based on a total number of employees, the top 10 fastener companies in 2016 were:

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