Excerpts from a report by an advisory council of Team Pennsylvania Foundation
Following the challenges brought by the Great Recession, the manufacturing sector in Pennsylvania is undergoing a renaissance. With gross state product (GSP) now reaching $71 billion, manufacturers in Pennsylvania account for over 12% of the total output in the commonwealth1. Pennsylvania remains the 6th largest manufacturing state in the United States (utilizing GSP as a benchmark). Pennsylvania outranks other historically industrial states including Michigan, Indiana, New York and New Jersey2. Pennsylvania is now producing more products than at any time in its history. For each of the last two years manufacturing employment has increased significantly and in 2011 alone 12,100 new jobs were created3. While employment continues to grow, the sector continues to experience measurable leaps in productivity driven by technology adoption and process innovation. Manufacturing productivity outpaces all other sectors with a staggering 259% increase over the last 40 years4.
With nearly 15,000 manufacturing establishments across the commonwealth, the outlook is bright for continued growth. Pennsylvania firms are building upon a proud heritage in manufacturing and have demonstrated new and creative approaches of integrating innovation into both products and processes. Recognizing the dynamics of the global marketplace, Pennsylvania hosts scores of multinational facilities exporting at record levels around the world accounting for more than 90% of all Pennsylvania exports.
Other key facts which underscore the importance of manufacturing in Pennsylvania include1,3:
Some of the commonwealth’s predominant sectors include transportation, metal machining and fabrication, glass, chemicals and plastics. These industry sectors continue to be well positioned to support growth in emerging markets such as energy, including renewable and natural gas, as well as medical devices and life sciences.
Diversity in the establishment size of Pennsylvania companies also provides strength and stability. Ninety-eight percent (98%) of all manufacturing firms in the commonwealth employ fewer than 500 employees, accounting for 75% of the total manufacturing workforce5. In contrast, 23 Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in the commonwealth, including at least 10 that are primarily focused on the manufacturing sector.6 The investment and capacity of these firms, whether large or small, is leveraged and supported by an extensive network of supply chains within the commonwealth.
While the recession was especially hard on the manufacturing sector, there are strong indicators that manufacturing is leading the commonwealth’s economic recovery. Taken as a whole, Pennsylvania firms have shown steady growth in both sales and in jobs since 2010. Exports continue to increase, with state export assistance programs recognized among the best in the nation. Additionally, there is a growing momentum in “reshoring” work, the relocation of work which had previously been outsourced to locations and facilities outside of the United States.
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1.National Association of Manufacturers; www.nam.org/statedata.org; and firstname.lastname@example.org
2 The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF); www.itif.org
3 PA Department of Labor and Industry, Center for Workforce Information and Analysis
4 Pennsylvania’s True Commonwealth – The State of Manufacturing, Challenges and Opportunities, February 2011