Salem Factory Opening–And Recent Closure–Reflect State Trends In Manufacturing

Synchronized Manufacturing Technologies, Inc. closed its doors late last week.  In the New Hampshire Business Review, Bob Sanders characterizes the company as “a Salem metal and electronic facility.”  It was sold to Pennsylvania-based Da-Tech Corp.  Sanders interviewed Da-Tech

James Walsh / Flickr

Although the state's manufacturing economy is far from dead, parts of it have been rusting away for some time.

President and CEO Paul Litwack for the piece, noting,

“According to Manta, the company had estimated annual sales of $2.5 million to $5 million and a workforce ranging from 10 to 19 people. But Litwack said that the company had struggled financially of late due to the recession, and was down to about 10 people when it shut its doors.”

Litwack told Sanders the Salem factory closure will be permanent, and the 10 workers will be unemployed, rather than transferred to other Da-Tech facilities.

While it’s one of a number of businesses that have closed since the onset of the recession, Synchronized Manufacturing’s 2004 opening–and recent closure–fit a number of patterns related to manufacturing in New Hampshire.

For someone used to thinking about factories on the order of large-scale Rustbelt operations, Synchronized Manufacturing might seem unusually small.  But in fact, the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security has

found the state is liberally peppered with factories on a smaller scale.  According to the agency’s Vital Signs 2011 report, in 2009, more than a third of manufacturing operations (34.6) employed 1-4 people.  But since the facilities were so small, they only employed 2.3 percent of workers in the manufacturing sector.  The less numerous, but bigger factories–with 100-249 workers–employ 20.9 percent of people in the manufacturing sector.  In other words, more than one out of five factory workers work for New Hampshire’s (relatively) large companies.

Synchronized Manufacturing also fit the statewide trend in what it produced.  According to Employment Security’s report, from 1984 through 2009, machinery, electronics, electrical appliances, computer components, and other technology-oriented manufacturing dominated the sector.  Just this type of fabrication has employed 41 percent of factory workers over the course of 25 years.

And, the agency reports the job losses in the wake of the Synchronized Manufacturing closure also fits a pattern that’s been awhile in the making,

“Over the past twenty-five years the Manufacturing share of employment in New Hampshire has shifted.  Instead of comprising over a quarter of all jobs, as it did in 1984, Manufacturing is now responsible for about one in every six jobs.  That’s still a goodly percentage, but nowhere close to what it has been historically.”






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