Pennsylvania a leader in manufacturing job growth, mayors report finds
Employment in the manufacturing sector is rising and Western Pennsylvania is among regions demonstrating rapid growth because of energy-intensive industries, a report for the U.S. Conference of Mayors found.
Energy-intensive manufacturing employment will expand by more than 1 percent per year nationwide, with 72 percent of those jobs in metropolitan areas, the report said, noting that the Marcellus shale play in Pennsylvania and Bakken shale drilling in North Dakota significantly fueled that expansion.
Energy-related manufacturing is credited with boosting the economies of several metropolitan areas, and inexpensive natural gas and unconventional oil plays hold potential for supporting long-term growth, the report said.
Pittsburgh remains a national leader in iron and steel manufacturing jobs, second only to Chicago with 8,145 jobs in 2012. Employment in iron and steel is forecast to contract by 0.9 percent annually in Pittsburgh through 2020.
Sectors showing potential for growth in Pittsburgh include fabricated metals manufacturing, with jobs expected to grow 1.4 percent annually to 16,606 by 2020, and plastics and rubber production, with predicted annual employment expansion of less than 1 percent to 4,727 jobs by 2020.
“Despite a large employment decrease during the recession nationwide, you'll see that the oil and gas industry grew during the 2007-to-2012 period because of the growth in the oil and gas industry, especially in shale gas, and Pennsylvania led that growth,” said Jennifer Cruz, an economist with the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said this week that its business activity index rebounded to 9.0 in March from negative 6.3 in February. Any reading above zero indicates expansion in manufacturing. Total annual average employment in Pennsylvania declined by 1.3 percent between 2007 and 2012 to 5,578,414; by contrast, employment in the oil and natural gas industry increased by 259.3 percent over the period, the Labor Department said last week.
“One advantage is that the companies that supply those manufacturing industries are also going to want to base here, since the business is already established here,” said economist Gus Faucher at PNC Financial Services Group.
Sustaining growth in manufacturing will be a challenge in the long run, Faucher said, as Western Pennsylvania tries to sustain population.
Only five of 22 counties in the tri-state region of Western Pennsylvania and bordering counties in Ohio and West Virginia reported steady growth in population since 2000, according to the Census Bureau. The 27 western rural counties in Pennsylvania declined by 0.9 percent during that decade, and they lost 0.5 percent from 2010 to 2012.
About 8 percent of the region's workers hold manufacturing jobs, according to the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, roughly on par with national averages but down from 25 percent when the sector was No. 1 in the late 1970s.
“That would be the biggest deterrent to those industries — if population losses continue, it will be more difficult to attract those industries,” Faucher said.
Shale-gas development led to a surge in employment in Pennsylvania, a traditional coal-producing state. In 2012, the state was the sixth-largest employer nationwide in the oil and gas sector, up from the 10th largest in 2007, the Labor Department said.
Pennsylvania had the second-biggest employment increase during that period, behind Texas. The average pay in the oil and gas sector in 2012 was $82,974 in Pennsylvania, higher than the state average of $48,297.
Vivian Salama is a Trib Total Media staff writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Alibaba stock soars in frenetic trading debut
- Stocks drift amid Alibaba’s IPO drama
- Pa. unemployment rate rises to 5.8 percent
- Range Resources to pay $4.15M fine, close old gas drilling impoundments
- Bayer to spin off plastics unit as separate company; employment to remain stable
- Chevron gets first OK from Pa. sustainable drilling group
- 5 Facebook settings to change now
- Net worth in U.S. reaches record high
- Mylan CEO Bresch sets sights on growth
- Post-IPO, Alibaba plans global expansion
- Home construction plunges more than 14% in August