MAQUOKETA, Iowa — Record growth in U.S. oil production likely will lead to more jobs in Jackson County.

Dubuque-based Morrison Bros. Co. recently broke ground on a $2 million, 14,000-square-foot addition at the company’s facility in Maquoketa. The addition is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

Charlie Glab, president of parent company Morrison Bros., said the Maquoketa Company already has hired at least three new workers, with “room for a few more.”

New job openings, including a full-time computer numeric-controlled machinist and general laborer, are posted on the company’s website.

“And as we expand further, there’s always consistent growth in that employee demand,” Glab said. “We don’t have any definite numbers or plans (for adding more jobs), but we seem to have a persistent pattern of growth.”

Glab said Maquoketa is a “great community with a good workforce.”

“We’ve accomplished a lot (with three prior expansions over roughly 30 years), and it’s a natural expansion for this operation,” he said.

The Dubuque-based company employs about 135 people, including more than 30 workers in various advanced manufacturing roles based out of its 5,000-square-foot facility in Maquoketa on Jacobsen Drive.

Morrison Bros., which started in Dubuque in 1855 and launched the Maquoketa Company in the early 1990s, specializes in valves, nozzles and fittings for petroleum-handling equipment.

“Certain product lines have experienced growth in our market, and (expansion) is somewhat overdo,” Glab said.

U.S. petroleum production increased by 16% in 2018, with the United States surpassing Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest producer of petroleum. And the United States hit a record-breaking 1.28 million barrels of oil per day in November, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency.

The country now is exporting more petroleum products than it imports.

“It’s a good indication that their market segment is growing, and is also a reflection of the new technology and processes in manufacturing that makes this realignment a good opportunity for them ... to increase their efficiency and production level,” said Nicolas Hockenberry, director of Jackson County Economic Alliance.

The expansion includes a new shipping and receiving area and warehouse to accommodate increased production demands, Hockenberry and Glab said.

“The Maquoketa Company’s expansion and investment in this community underscores the importance of our existing business and industry in the area and ensuring they’re doing well,” Hockenberry said.

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