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New census data shows Pa. manufacturing in decline

The Penn State Data Center analyzed fresh data released by the U.S. Census Bureau to show a steady decline of Pennsylvania manufacturing between 2007 and 2012.

The census bureau’s 2012 Economic Census Geographic Area Series shows manufacturing and related establishments in Pennsylvania dropped from 15,406 in 2007 to 13,988 in 2012, a 9.2 percent decrease.

The decline of manufacturing was not unique to Pennsylvania, as the nation experienced a 10.8 percent decline in establishments since 2007. In fact, between 2007 and 2012, every state reported a decline in manufacturing establishments. More than half of states (27) reported losing 10 percent or more.

The loss of manufacturing is not new, but it continues a consistent trend dating to 1997. Both the state and the country experienced an 18.3 percent decline in manufacturing establishments from 1997 to 2012. Overall, the country lost 66,224 locations during the 15-year period, with Pennsylvania losing 3,140.

Pennsylvania manufacturing employees have declined since 1997 as well. Manufacturers employed 543,641 people in 2012, a 34.2 percent decline since 1997, when 826,521 individuals were employed in the manufacturing sector. As a result, the number of employees per establishment decreased from 48.3 in 1997 to 38.8 in 2012.

Nationally, manufacturing employment declined by 5.5 million or 32.9 percent since 1997.

John Hilton

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