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State’s manufacturers adapt, study finds |

State’s manufacturers adapt, study finds

| Wednesday, February 16, 2011 12:00 a.m

Manufacturing remains Pennsylvania’s largest industry in terms of goods and services produced, and the fourth largest in the number of workers employed, according to a report released Tuesday.

“Manufacturing is driving the economic rebound,” said Petra Mitchell, president of the nonprofit Catalyst Connection in South Oakland, an agency that helps companies grow and develop new products.

The state’s manufacturers generated goods and services — or gross state product — of $131,147 per employee in 2010, compared to $97,222 last year for non-manufacturers, according to the study.

The study was commissioned by the seven Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Centers, including Catalyst Connection. Manufacturing’s gross state product has topped non-manufacturing every year since 1998, the study showed.

“Many of the companies that Catalyst (Connection) assists in the Pittsburgh region have faced the economic challenges of recent years by adapting — finding new products, streamlining productions and making other changes,” Mitchell said.

The Catalyst Connection helps small-and-medium-sized manufacturers in 12 Southwest Pennsylvania counties.

In December, manufacturers provided 554,000 jobs, a 1.4 percent increase from December 2009, state figures show. That accounted for about 10 percent of the state’s 5.6 million jobs in December.

Pennsylvania’s manufacturers pay an average yearly salary of $52,204 to workers, according to the study.

In the seven-county Pittsburgh region, manufacturing jobs fell since the recession began in December 2007. There were 100,000 manufacturing jobs that month, but just 85,700 in December 2010.

The study shows job losses in manufacturing came mostly from companies with more than 500 employees, Mitchell said.

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