Industrial employment in Baltimore-Washington area falls 2.3%

Industrial employment in Maryland and Washington, D.C., fell 2.3 percent in a year-over-year period ending in May, with layoffs at defense contractor AAI Corp. and the closure of the Solo Cup plant in Owings Mills contributing to job losses, Manufacturers' News Inc. reported Monday.

The region lost 4,419 jobs during the 12 months, according to an annual industrial directory published by Manufacturers' News. Baltimore remained the area's biggest city for manufacturing employment, with 31,354 workers and a 3.1 percent loss of jobs. The Maryland/D.C. area has 4,756 manufacturing companies that employ more than 180,000 workers.

Electronics manufacturing, which accounts for 20,000 jobs, lost 9.5 percent of its workforce after AAI Corp. and others laid off workers. Employment in the rubber/plastics sector was down 10.3 percent after Solo Cup closed its Owings Mills plant.

Employment also fell in the industrial machinery and equipment manufacturing sector, which employs more than 18,000.

Jobs were added, or are anticipated, in several areas of the state, with the planned opening of an ELTA North America aerospace facility in Howard County, the expansion of a Protenergy Natural Foods location in Cambridge, the opening of a MedImmune pharmaceutical plant in Frederick, and plans by General Motors to move some electric vehicle parts manufacturing to its White Marsh plant.

Printing and publishing remains the area's biggest manufacturing sector, with 33,541 jobs and no significant change during the 12-month period. Employment remained steady in textiles/apparel, furniture/fixtures and transportation equipment, while jobs were added in the chemicals and instruments sectors.

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