Industrial employment in Virginia was little changed over the past year, with the state posting a slight gain according to the 2013 Virginia Manufacturers Directory ®, a manufacturers directory published annually by Manufacturers’ News, Inc. (MNI) Evanston, IL. MNI reports Virginia gained 284 industrial jobs between December 2011 and December 2012. Manufacturers’ News reports Virginia is now home to 6,420 manufacturers employing 329,788 workers. “The state continues to see its manufacturing sector improve,” says Tom Dubin, President of the Evanston, IL-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. “Virginia has fared very well economically compared to most other states in the region.” Several manufacturers operating in Virginia announced expansions over the year, including Rolls Royce’s site in Prince George County; Kraft Foods in Frederick County; Utility Trailer in Marion; Sabra’s snack dip plant in Chesterfield County; M&H Plastics in Winchester; and HanesBrands fabric plant in Patrick County. In addition, nutrient manufacturer Balchem announced plans to establish a new manufacturing facility in Covington, and RTI Metals opened a new plant in Martinsville. Transportation equipment manufacturing ranks as Virginia’s top sector by employment with 37,323 jobs, up 2.1% over the year. Second-ranked food products accounts for 33,758 jobs, up 1.6%. Printing and publishing is the state’s third-largest sector by employment with 28,790 jobs, down 5%. Additional sectors that gained jobs within the past year included electronics, up 6.3%; and industrial machinery and equipment, up 2.4%. Losses were seen in furniture/fixtures, down 6.8%; fabricated metals, down 5.3%; stone/clay/glass down 3.8%; lumber/wood, down 3.4%; and textiles/apparel down 3%. Industrial locations announcing closures included Berry Plastics’ location in Henrico; Brooks Food Group’s plant in Bedford; and Duro Bag Manufacturing’s factory in Richmond. MNI’s city data shows Richmond is Virginia’s top city for manufacturing employment, home to 28,063 jobs, down 5.2% over the year. Industrial employment in Newport News decreased 1%, with the second-ranked city currently home to 25,499 jobs. Roanoke accounts for 10,508 manufacturing jobs, down 6.7% over the year. Lynchburg accounts for 9,859 jobs, virtually unchanged from a year ago, while Norfolk accounts for 9,637 industrial jobs, down 3.7%.