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IndustryNet Blog

What's on the horizon for Virginia manufacturing?

Posted by IndustryNet on Friday, February 15, 2019

young man in baseball cap wields large sheet of metal in factoryAccording to new data compiled by MNI, publisher of the U.S. industrial data that powers IndustryNet, Virginia’s manufacturing sector added more than 2,000 jobs in 2018.

Gains were primarily led by food processing, which ranks as one of the state’s top industries, while transportation equipment, electronics, and even textiles added jobs.

With its educated labor pool, solid infrastructure, availability of capital funding, and favorable regulatory environment. Virginia continues to hold great appeal for many manufacturers.

The state’s flourishing transportation sector and its stronghold in the food processing industry is evidence of this. Here’s an overview of the strides made by the state in 2018, as well as a peek at what is on the horizon:

Virginia manufacturing: the year in review

Virginia is currently home to 5,816 manufacturers that employ 337,135 workers. The state added 2,184 jobs in the past year, representing a gain of one percent.

Manufacturing job gains were led by the food processing sector, which rose 2.5% over the year and ranks as the state’s second-largest industrial sector by number of jobs, employing 35,062.

Transportation equipment ranks as Virginia’s top sector by number of jobs, employing 44,138. That industry added more than 400 net jobs in 2018, representing a gain of one percent.

These gains were offset, however, by a 4.2% loss in printing/publishing, which ranks third in the state, employing 26,590.00000139HighTechManufacturing

Additional gains were seen across a wide range of industries and included textiles/apparel (+4.3%); electronics (+3.4%); chemicals (+1%) and industrial machinery (+0.5%).

Losses were less pronounced, notable only in stone/clay/glass (-1.8%) and fabricated metals (-1.4%).

According to city data collected by MNI, Newport News ranks first in the state for number of industrial jobs, with the city home to 28,517 workers, up one percent over the year. Second-ranked Richmond is home to 25,111, down 1%, while third-ranked Lynchburg accounts for 10,502 of the state’s industrial jobs, down 1.3% in 2018.

Virginia cities posting industrial employment gains in 2018 included Manassas, up 23%; Arlington, up 14%; Herndon, up 5.5% and Chesapeake, up 1.4%.

Top manufacturing industries in Virginia


Virginia manufacturing: new companies and expanding businesses

A number of new plant announcements were made in 2018, representing a wide range of industries.

One of the top news items of the year was Micron’s big announcement of its plans to expand its Manassas plant, investing $3 billion and creating 1,100 advanced manufacturing positions. The new facility will focus on producing self-driving car components.

Over the year, British company Harlow Group chose Virginia as its first U.S. enterprise, announcing plans to establish a precision sheet metal fabrication factory in the town of Danville.

In addition, vinyl pressing company Furnace Record Pressing joined the ranks of an increasing number of vinyl pressing factories, choosing Alexandria as the location for their first plant.

Nutritional supplement start-up Panaceuitcs announced plans to build a new location in Danville, while Hong Kong company American Merchant Inc unveiled plans to establish a towel-making facility in Bristol. In addition, TruckVault broke ground on a new plant in North Jackson.

On the expansion front, plastic film manufacturer Klockner Pentaplast unveiled plans to expand operations at its Gordonsville facility, while Empire Bakery Commissary; Enviva Partners; and Amthor International also announced expansions.

Virginia manufacturing: By the Numbers


textile factory floorTop five Virginia cities for number of industrial jobs:

Newport News - 30,360
Richmond - 30,360
Virginia Beach - 11,196
Lynchburg - 11,155
Roanoke - 11,110

Top five Virginia counties for number of industrial jobs:

Independent Cities - 205,626
Fairfax - 34,616
Loudoun - 12,372
Rockingham - 7,064
Hanover - 5,754

Largest Virginia Manufacturers by Employees:

Huntington Ingalls Industries (Newport News) - 21,800 employees
SAIC (McLean) - 2,600 employees
Group Trucks Operations, Cab & Vehicle Assembly (Dublin) - 2,532 employees
Philip Morris USA (Richmond) - 2,320 employees
Smithfield Farmland Smithfield) - 2,300 employees

About this data:

MNI’s extensive manufacturing data powers IndustryNet, an industrial marketplace that connects buyers with suppliers. MNI’s team of more than 80 researchers scours hundreds of sources on-and-offline to zero in on every manufacturer in the U.S.

Each manufacturer is contacted multiple times annually to ensure its information remains up-to-date and complete.

IndustryNet allows users to search and source more than ten thousand types of products, parts, supplies, and services for free. IndustryNet® lists every U.S. manufacturer plus thousands of wholesalers & distributors and industrial service providers.

To connect with industrial suppliers in Virginia and across the U.S. start your free search on IndustryNet. Or, to access detailed profiles of Virginia’s 6,000 industrial companies and their 19,700 executives, learn more about MNI’s IndustrySelect database subscription.



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