A study sponsored by the state’s seven Industrial Resource Centers (IRCs) shows that manufacturing remains Pennsylvania’s leader in gross state product (GSP). And even with the recent loss of jobs in the sector, manufacturing is still the fourth largest provider of jobs in Pennsylvania.

The regional IRCs are funded by the state Department of Community and Economic Development to assist manufacturers to stay abreast of changes in technology and other developments.

The study, ‘Pennsylvania's True Commonwealth: The State of Manufacturing – Challenges and Opportunities’, shows that between 2006 and 2008, the largest firms shed more than 16 percent of their jobs. But the small (less than 100 employees) were able to stay relatively the same, and mid-sized firms (between 250 – 499 employees) actually added jobs.

Other results from the study include:

  • Manufacturing has an impact on the entire state, but has more of an effect on economies in rural counties: accounting for 23 percent of GSP and 16 percent of all employment in 2008.
  • Productivity (gross state product per employee) in 2008 was $27,000 higher for Pennsylvania manufacturers than for non-manufacturers.
    • --- The gap may be explained by improved capital and management practices among manufacturing companies
  • More than 60 percent of the patents issued from 2001 through 2010 to Pennsylvania companies and universities went to manufacturing companies.