EVANSTON, Ill., May 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Industrial employment in Alabama remained steady over the past twelve months, according to the 2012 Alabama Manufacturers Register®, an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers' News, Inc. (MNI) Evanston, IL. MNI reports Alabama lost just 129 industrial jobs or less than one percent from March 2011 to March 2012. Manufacturers' News reports Alabama is now home to 5,515 manufacturers employing 302,511 workers. "The recovery is gaining momentum in Alabama and across the U.S.," says Tom Dubin, President of the Evanston, IL-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. "The state's friendly business environment has been a draw for a variety of enterprises, particularly in the auto sector." Bright spots for the state included auto-parts supplier Seung Chang Airtek Inc.'s opening of its second plant in Auburn; Honda's expansion of its assembly plant in Lincoln; the opening of a HONAM Petrochemical Corp. site in Auburn; and Hyundai's expansion of its engine plant in Montgomery. Auto supplier ZF plans an expansion of its Tuscaloosa factory; Mando America, a Korean auto parts maker, recently announced plans to expand its Opelika facility; Honeywell's UOP LLC will expand its plant in Mobile; and Mercedes is expanding its Tuscaloosa site. MNI reports transportation equipment manufacturing has overtaken food products as the state's largest industrial sector by employment, with 38,224 jobs, up 8.6% from a year ago. Second-ranked food products manufacturing accounts for 36,719 jobs, up 1%. Fabricated metal products ranks third and represents 25,196 industrial jobs, down 3.7% over the past twelve months.