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Manufacturers add thousands of jobs

Monday, December 15, 2014

By Prairie Business

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Manufacturing is making a comeback.

As the global recession hit in late 2007, manufacturers across the country and locally shed jobs. Both North Dakota and Minnesota have added thousands of jobs since the summer of 2009, when the economic recovery officially began, but still remain below pre-recession employment levels.

That could change next year. A Nebraska-based economist recently predicted North Dakota and Minnesota would recover the manufacturing jobs lost during the recession sometime in 2015.

Steffes Corp., a Dickinson-based steel product maker, is one example of a manufacturer that has recovered. Its employment dipped to 116 as sales slowed by 30 percent. But Steffes executives saw an opportunity in the rapidly expanding energy industry in western North Dakota.

"We've been riding that wave ever since," said Steffes President Joe Rothschiller. Steffes now employs about 300. It added a plant in Grand Forks in 2012, and now employs 110 here.

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