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Pennsylvania Manufacturing Employment Declines For A Fifth Straight Year


Contact: Jennifer Ratcliff
Manufacturers' News, Inc.
(847) 864-9440 ext. 241
jratcliff [at]

EVANSTON, Ill, September 27th, 2017/Manufacturers' News, Inc./-- Manufacturing employment in Pennsylvania declined over the past year, according to data collected by Manufacturers' News, Inc. (MNI), a publisher of industrial databases and directories for all fifty states. MNI reports manufacturers in Pennsylvania shed 8,604 manufacturing jobs between June 2016 and June 2017, or 1.1%, outpacing the half percent loss MNI reported over the 2015-2016 survey period.

Currently, Pennsylvania’s 15,561 manufacturers employ 777,273 in the state, reports MNI. Although the state’s industrial workforce levels stabilized somewhat in the years directly following the recession as the fracking boom took hold, employment began to inch down again in June 2012. Overall, Pennsylvania has lost more than 26,000 jobs over the past five years, a 3.3% decline.

“While most U.S. states have seen industrial employment inch up in the post-recession era, Pennsylvania has struggled to add jobs. Global competition and a strong dollar continue to drag down hiring, while lagging infrastructure and high business costs make it harder for businesses to expand,” says Tom Dubin, President of the Evanston, IL-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. “However, the state’s skilled workforce, abundant capital funding, and investments in advanced manufacturing have boosted non-traditional sectors like pharmaceuticals and medical devices.”

Pennsylvania’s job losses were led by the industrial machinery sector, which declined by 2.2%. Industrial machinery ranks as the state’s top sector by manufacturing employment, with 90,349 workers. Employment in the state’s next two top industries, food processing and fabricated metals, held steady over the year, employing 87,942 and 82,061, respectively.

Additional losses were spread across multiple sectors and were most severe in printing/publishing, down 6%; transportation equipment, also down 6%; oil/gas extraction, down 5%; textiles/apparel, down 4%; stone/clay/glass, down 3%; and electronics, down 2%.

A slew of plant closures in Pennsylvania were announced over the year, including a Kraft Heinz factory in Upper Macungie Township; several Allegheny Technologies facilities across the state; modular home builder Excel Homes in Liverpool; Quad Graphics in York; and a Merck facility in North Wales.

These losses were offset somewhat by gains in the state’s chemical processing industry, which added 2% to its workforce. Jobs in furniture/fixtures rose 4%, and employment climbed 3.6% in medical devices/related products.

A few recent announcements bode well for Pennsylvania’s manufacturing future, including a soybean processing plant opened by Perdue Agribusiness in Lancaster County and Siemens’ plans to establish a new operation at the idled Sony plant in Westmoreland. In addition, Corsa Coal Corp opened a new metallurgical coal mining operation in Acosta.

MNI’s regional data shows manufacturing employment declined across all five of the state’s regions, with job losses most severe in Southwest Pennsylvania, down 2% to 174,401 jobs. Jobs declined 2.1% in Northeast Pennsylvania to 52,948 workers, and declined 1% in both the state’s Northwest and Central regions to 105,940 jobs and 114,815 workers, respectively. Factory jobs in Southeast Pennsylvania dipped a half percent, with the region accounting for 42% of the state’s industrial employment, or 329,169 jobs.

Many of Pennsylvania’s top industrial cities reported losses in employment, including Philadelphia, which declined by 5.6%, and is home to the most manufacturing jobs at 36,121. Jobs held steady in Pittsburgh at 34,882 workers, and were down 1% in Erie, which accounts for 16,955. Employment fell 1.9% in Lancaster to 16,068 jobs and fell 2.4% in Reading to 12,761.

Established in 1912, MNI is the nation’s oldest and largest compiler of industrial information, offering tailored solutions to help customers connect with 430,000 manufacturers and suppliers. MNI’s industrial marketplace IndustryNet: is a one-stop resource that connects buyers with suppliers of 10,000 + products and services, and allows users to obtain competitive quotes, create and view company profiles, post company news releases, photos, videos, job openings, and more. MNI’s subscription service EZ Select: provides access to MNI’s live interactive database of manufacturers. For more information, contact MNI at 847-864-7000 or visit
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