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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
8:51 PM Sat, Oct. 20th

Manufacturing bolsters economy

Manufacturing jobs remain the highest paid in Arizona and second-highest in Yavapai County.

Nearly 3,300 workers are employed in manufacturing jobs in Yavapai County, according to figures compiled earlier this year by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Gov. Jan Brewer declared October as Arizona Manufacturers Month to highlight more than 4,500 manufacturers located in Arizona with 184 of those businesses in Yavapai County.

"Increasing the capabilities and capacity of Arizona's manufacturers while attracting the skilled workforce they need is essential for the birth of new industries and continued innovation of Arizona's economy," Brewer said.

As part of a supply chain, manufacturers draw outside dollars into local economies.

Prescott Aerospace Inc., for instance, pulls most of its revenue from sales to companies outside Yavapai County.

"Most our work goes into the Phoenix area," General Manager Michael Dailey said.

He explained the company primarily manufactures parts for the defense aerospace industry. Parts made in Prescott end up in four Boeing aircraft: the Apache attack helicopter, F/A-18 combat jet, C-17 military transport and F-15 tactical fighter. The company also makes parts for commercial industry manufacturers such as MD Helicopter in Mesa.

While some company expenditures go to suppliers outside the area, Dailey said the 31-year-old company employs about 30 people at its Prescott facility, with more than $1 million in annual payroll.

The U.S. Census Bureau indicates that as of 2007, the most recent figures available, shipments by Yavapai County manufacturers totaled more than $763 million. That same year, the U.S. Department of Labor reported payroll for manufacturing jobs in the county topped $127 million. As of the first quarter in 2014, annual manufacturing payroll had grown to more than $160 million.

Yavapai County's manufacturing workers' average wages, at $48,000 annually, are only eclipsed by workers in the natural resources and mining industry.

"Manufacturing continues to be the lifeblood of Arizona's economy and companies in this sector are exporting Arizona innovations around the globe," said Steve Zylstra, Arizona Technology Council president and CEO. "Manufacturers create new wealth and high-wage jobs for our state, and this initiative allows us to focus on the positive impact manufacturers have throughout Arizona."

Follow reporter Les Bowen on Twitter @NewsyLesBowen