Celebrating the future of manufacturing in Pennsylvania and the U.S.

Matt Crocco

With an economic impact of $84 billion, Pennsylvania’s manufacturing industry ranks eighth largest in the nation, providing 558,000 jobs with an average salary of $60,000, according to Keystone Edge.

And that makes it cause for recognition. Pennsylvania Manufacturing Week runs Sept. 30 through Oct. 6, giving public and private officials a chance to look at the state of the industry, celebrate its successes and discuss how to continue to improve it. The week wraps up with national Manufacturing Day on Oct. 6.

“The manufacturing industry is the foundation of Pennsylvania’s economy — we have the skills, experience and knowledge to help companies succeed in the United States,” the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) noted.

Natural gas production from the Marcellus Shale has helped to increase manufacturing in the commonwealth. Pennsylvania has been the nation’s second-largest natural gas producer for four consecutive years, with the state’s gross production exceeding more than 5.2 trillion cubic feet last year, according to the DCED.

“Natural gas usage fits into many aspects of our economy, including heat, power, downstream manufacturing and electricity generation,” the DCED said. (Related: Watch Denise Brinley, DCED senior energy adviser, talk with The Stream at Shale Insight)

The successful resurgence of manufacturing in the state was highly lauded at last week’s Shale Insight conference in Pittsburgh. The forthcoming Shell Chemical Appalachia ethane cracker plant in Beaver County will inject a multibillion-dollar investment into the state. When the facility opens in the early 2020s, it will create 600 permanent jobs.

“The supply of ethane will be a strong catalyst to making sure the manufacturing resurgence happens here,” state Rep. Jim Christiana told Shale Insight attendees during a discussion on the plant.

Another forward-looking perspective came from Jeff Logan, president of the Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council. Logan wrote last week that by attracting petrochemical and plastic resin manufacturers, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky stand to gain more than 100,000 permanent new jobs, leading to an annual $2.9 billion in new taxes at all levels.

“To accomplish this, we need support from our elected officials,” Logan wrote. “By offering incentives to downstream chemical and plastics manufacturing companies, Pennsylvania can make an even bigger impact in the shale world.”

Matt Crocco

Matt Crocco is based in Bravo Group's Pittsburgh office and serves as the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Steel Alliance.

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