SIC 3648

This classification covers establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing miscellaneous lighting fixtures and equipment, electric and non-electric, not elsewhere classified. Examples of such products include flashlights and similar portable lamps, searchlights, ultraviolet lamp fixtures, and infrared lamp fixtures. Establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing electric light bulbs, tubes, and related light sources are classified in SIC 3641: Electric Lamp Bulbs and Tubes. Those establishments producing glassware for lighting fixtures are classified in various glass manufacturing industries. Those establishments manufacturing traffic signals are classified in SIC 3669: Communications Equipment, Not Elsewhere Classified.

NAICS Code(s)

335129 (Other Lighting Equipment Manufacturing)

Industry Snapshot

The two major groupings in this industry are outdoor lighting equipment and electric and nonelectric equipment not elsewhere classified. The majority of products in this category are handheld, portable lighting equipment, such as flashlights and lanterns. The remainder of the market is highly fragmented among various electric and nonelectric devices.

In 2001, 298 firms operated 322 establishments in this industry, a slight increase from the year before. There were more than 20,000 employees, including 13,457 production workers. Payroll for this year was about $700 million, and total shipments were valued at $3.66 billion.

Background and Development

Late 1980s revenues of more than $1.8 billion per year for the miscellaneous lighting equipment industry (approximately 20 to 25 percent of total lighting equipment industry total) represented an average annual growth rate of more than 8 percent between 1982 and 1988, when sales were about $1.0 billion. Strong commercial and residential construction markets boosted shipments through the late 1980s, but growth faltered in the early 1990s, as economic malaise and depressed construction sectors pinched profits. Recovering residential building and remodeling markets rejuvenated demand in 1992 and 1993, however, and these markets continued to improve through the mid-1990s.

Miscellaneous lighting equipment manufacturers hoped to overcome analysts' predictions of slow 1990s growth by introducing new and better fixtures. Much of the emphasis was on devices that could reduce energy consumption and accommodate new high-tech bulbs. The National Energy Security Act of 1992 even mandated the use of more efficient bulbs and equipment. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency's voluntary "Green Light" conservation program encouraged corporations to install new energy-efficient equipment and fixtures. Even in this changing environment, growth through the mid-1990s was stable, as the total value of shipments increased 22 percent from 1992 to reach $2.4 billion in 1994. Despite this trend, there was no increase in the value of shipments in 1995. The industry exported about $540.0 million in goods. In 1997 the value of shipments grew to about $3.1 billion. There were more than 300 establishments in the industry, employing 18,252 workers, almost 70 percent of whom were in production; about half of these establishments employed 20 employees or more. California employed the most, followed by Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Current Conditions

As with most manufacturing industries, the lighting equipment sector suffered a downturn during the early part of the 2000s, due to general economic downturn and lowered consumer spending. Going into 2003 and beyond, the economy was improving.

In 2001, 298 firms operated 322 establishments in this industry, a slight increase from the year before. There were more than 20,000 employees, including 13,457 production workers. Payroll for this year was about $700 million, and total shipments were valued at nearly $3.7 billion. Projections were for increased demand for outdoor lighting, which would vault the market's value through 2005.

After a rocky start to the industry in the new century, industry leader Genlyte projected increases in revenue from commercial construction sources in the mid-2000s. In 2003, the company acquired the light pole division of Shakespeare Industrial Group, as well as Vari-Lite, assuring its continued status as the undisputed champion.

Industry Leaders

The industry leader in 2001 was Genlyte Thomas Group LLC of Louisville, Kentucky, with sales of $4.8 billion and 5,200 employees. In 2003, the company controlled 24 brands. In distant second place was Rayovac Corp., with sales of $676 million and 2,800 employees. Rounding out the top three was Wichita-based Coleman Company Inc., with $389 million in sales and 2,300 employees.


Although industry employment grew from about 8,500 to more than 9,500 during the 1980s, employment growth was bleak. Productivity gains and the transfer of some manufacturing activities to low-cost foreign producers contributed to job losses for several occupations. Positions for assemblers and fabricators were expected to decline by 7 percent into 2005, and positions for machine operators were projected to drop as much as 35 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While most blue-collar opportunities were expected to wane, jobs for specialized groups like industrial machinery mechanics were projected to rise significantly into the new millennium. Prospects also were good for sales and marketing positions through 2005. Overall, employment projections for the electric lighting equipment manufacturing industry was for a slow but steady annual decrease into 2012.

Further Reading

Baker, Deborah J., ed. Ward's Business Directory of US Private and Public Companies. Detroit, MI: Thomson Gale, 2003.

"Genlyte Announces Record Sales and Earnings in 2003." PR Newswire, 5 December 2003.

"Genlyte's Lightolier Subsidiary Named Top Choice of Architecture and Architectural Lighting Magazine Contest for Second Year in a Row." PR Newswire, 10 February 2003.

"Genlyte Thomas Buys Shakespeare Industrial Group's Light Pole Business." Electrical Wholesaling, 1 July 2003.

Kaspar, Mary Alice. "Lighting Manufacturer Delays Hays Expansion." Austin Business Journal, 21 December 2001.

U.S. Census Bureau. Statistics of U.S. Businesses: 2001. 1 March 2004. Available from .

U.S. Department of Commerce. Annual Survey of Manufactures. Washington: GPO, 2002.

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Economic and Employment Projections. 11 February 2004. Available from .

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