The organization said Pennsylvania’s manufacturing sector is the eighth-largest in the country with the sixth-largest employee base.
The state’s manufacturing sector has an $87 billion impact on the economy. More than 560,000 employees work at more than 14,400 companies across the commonwealth, and earn an average annual wage of more than $60,000, which is nearly 15 percent higher than the average salary in the state.
“Manufacturing is so important to the economy in any place,” said Chad Paul, president and CEO of the Bethlehem-based organization. “Typically the highest-paying jobs are manufacturing jobs and they’re the most stable. They’re the backbone of the economy.”
Which is why he said the work that BFTP/NEO and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development is so important. Their mission is to promote, sustain, and invest in the development of the regional economy.
“We’re really creating that next generation of manufacturers,” he said.
Paul said Ben Franklin’s investment in and support of its manufacturing clients resulted in the creation or retention of 31,935 manufacturing jobs between 1994 and 2017.
Ben Franklin also helps established manufacturers apply new technology and compete effectively in global markets.
Between 1994 and 2017, Paul said BFTP/NEP made 479 investments, totaling $27.9 million, in established manufacturers. The focus of BFTP/NEP’s work with manufacturers is on finding efficiency solutions, including product redesign, production line efficiency, and information systems optimization. The results of these investments were 6,581 new jobs created and 25,354 jobs retained.