After taking it on the chin during the recession, Michigan's manufacturing sector is clawing back.
The Wolverine State gained 14,648 manufacturing jobs in 2013, according to data from Manufacturers' News Inc.
Michigan saw a 2.3 percent net increase in manufacturing employment, despite losing 54 manufacturers last year.
The state now has 14,222 manufacturers employing 650,291 workers, according to Manufacturers' News.
"Michigan's industrial climate continues to improve," said Tom Dubin, president of Evanston, Ill.-based Manufacturers' News, which publishes industrial directories and databases.
"The state's efforts to reduce business costs have resulted in many companies reinvesting in its manufacturing sector."
Employment in the state's transportation-equipment sector rose 4.3 percent to 131,274 jobs.
Auto Industry Drives the Economy
Not surprisingly, the automotive industry has been a big driver of the uptick in hiring over the past two years.
General Motors, Ford and Chrysler have been ramping up investment in their Michigan facilities, and all three automakers announced expansion plans last year.
In December, Ford said it will invest $773 million to boost capacity at six factories in the state, estimating that the expansion will create 2,350 new jobs.
The announcements have triggered a string of expansion projects and plant openings in the automotive supply chain.
Among them, Detroit Manufacturing Systems opened a facility in Detroit to make instrument panels for Ford.
Meanwhile, Brose North America opened a new facility in New Boston, Mich., Faurecia opened a new plant in Fraser, Mich., and Magna E-Car Systems established a new assembly plant in Grand Blanc Township, Mich.
The expansions helped to offset the loss of jobs from plant closures by American Axle & Manufacturing in Detroit and International Paper in Kalamazoo.
Employment in Michigan's second-largest manufacturing sector – industrial machinery and equipment – increased by 2 percent to 120,541 jobs, according to Manufacturers' News.
With 77,192 jobs, the state's fabricated-metals sector grew its employment ranks by a fraction of a percent.