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Leaders highlight importance of manufacturing jobs with week of tours

Pennsylvania Manufacturing Week
Pennsylvania Manufacturing Week 01:53

HARRISBURG (KDKA) - They're always an important part of the economy, but manufacturing jobs are getting some extra attention this week. 

It's Pennsylvania Manufacturing Week, one of those rare things these days that unites leaders from both parties who are touring the commonwealth together.

From the half-century-old Rockland Manufacturing Company to the much newer Organic Snack Company to hydrogen-powered SUVs at PDC Machines in Montgomery County, a half-million Pennsylvanians work in manufacturing.  

"That's nearly 10% of all private sector jobs in Pennsylvania," said Acting Secretary of Community and Economic Development Neil Weaver.

Weaver with Wolf's administration toured in Bedford County with Republican state Rep. Jesse Topper.  

"These aren't just jobs," Topper said. "These are careers that sustain families."

Things are far better than they were early in the pandemic, but manufacturing employment is not quite back to where it was before. That's true across the commonwealth and specifically in the Philly and Pittsburgh metro areas. Overall unemployment remains low: 4.5 percent in and around Philly, 4.8 percent in and around Pittsburgh. So why the focus on manufacturing jobs?  

"Manufacturing employees earn 33% more on average than any other sector in Pennsylvania," Weaver said. "The other great thing is that these careers have the highest job security in the private sector."

The Manufacturing Week tour continues Wednesday at the New Elliott plant in Westmoreland County. 

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