No manufacturers made it onto the list of the state's 10-best performing companies this year, and two companies that placed high last year fell considerably in rankings. Revenue losses were felt throughout the sector as companies lost orders and laid off workers, said Roy Peters, president of the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance. "We've lost some firms,” he said. "I don't think we've lost a lot of companies totally, but we, of course, have lost a lot of employment.” Peters said employment has dropped from about 153,000 workers two years ago to 123,000 now among the state's 4,200 manufacturing companies. But signs of improvement are emerging, he said. "They are beginning to see more overtime, which is a super signal that things are getting better,” Peters said. "We are hearing that the temp agencies are getting more orders for manufacturing orders and that companies are hiring back in small numbers.” Still, it will take years to recover from the recession. Companies were forced to become more efficient, and may keep their workforces lean. According to the 2010 Manufacturers Register, sectors that lost jobs last year include housing and construction, rubber and plastic, textiles/apparel and printing/publishing. "Decreased demand continues to affect Oklahoma's manufacturing sector,” said Tom Dublin, president of Manufacturers' News Inc., which publishes the register. "However, we're seeing fewer job losses than we did a year ago, and the state's favorable business climate continues to help improve the outlook.” In this year's Oklahoma Inc. ranking, Orchids Paper Products was listed second in 2009 but fell to 27th this year. Based in Pryor, Orchid uses recycled waste paper to produce finished tissue products for retail chains throughout the central United States. Company President Robert Snyder declined to comment about the company's performance and dip in profits this year. AAON Inc. fell from fifth to 29th in the ranking. The Tulsa-based heating and air conditioning manufacturer has been hit by a slow commercial construction market. In August, company CEO Norman Asbjornson said the outlook for the rest of 2010 is "challenging” but the company continues to invest in equipment and facilities and will introduce new products to position it for an industry upturn.Comments
Program lures manufacturersThe state's Quality Jobs incentive program has helped lure some new manufacturers to Oklahoma. Since July 1, five companies have pledged job growth tied to the program, which rebates up to five percent of new payroll to qualifying companies.